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Al-Qāhir, al-Qahhār – Allah is the Subduer

Allah’s name al-Qāhir is mentioned in the following two verse of the Qur’an:

“And He is the One who Subdues, above His servants, and He is the Wise, the All-Aware.” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 18]

“He is the One who Subdues, above His servants, and He sets guardians over you. At length, when death approaches one of you, Our angels take his soul, and they never fail in their duty.” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 61]

Everything in creation is directly subjected to Allah’s power and will. Likewise, Allah sends His angels to carry out His will over creation. Allah’s absolute sovereignty over creation is clearly evident in the world, in how Allah maintains and governs all of its affairs. It will be even more evident in the Hereafter. This is why we see the more emphatic form of the name – al-Qahhār – being employed in the following verse:

“The Day whereon they will (all) come forth: not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose is the dominion this day? It is Allah's, the One, the Subduer (of all)!” [Sūrah Ghāfir: 16]

This verse is one of six places in the Qur’an where the emphatic form of the name – al-Qahhār – appears. In this verse, the question is asked – rhetorically – “Whose is the dominion this day?” In the Hereafter, there will be no question in anyone’s mind that everything and everyone in existence is subject to Allah’ dominion. The very existence of creation and all it contains depends on Allah, the Lord and Creator of all things.

The Subduer of False Arguments

One connotation of Allah’s name al-Qahhār is that He subdues the arguments of those who deny Him. He does so by placing in creation many irrefutable proofs and signs that attest to His existence and lordship and to the fact that He alone deserves to be worshipped. We see these clear and undeniable signs in the universe around us and within our very selves. Moreover, we have been given instinctive knowledge of our Lord and a natural belief in His existence.

The evidence in creation that proclaims Allah’s existence can be witnessed by the scientist who studies the universe in depth with state-of-the-art instrumentation as well as by the simplest farmhand who looks at how a seed sprouts and grows in the soil, and by the coarse Bedouin who witnesses the rains and sees the desert bloom. With signs like these, Allah subdues the doubts people have and inspires their hearts to faith.

The Hereafter

Another connotation of Allah’s name al-Qahhār is that His creatures will be wholly subject to His will on the Day of Resurrection. They will have no choice in their being brought forth and gathered together for the final judgment. They will have no refuge place to flee to on that Day.

Allah says: “On the day when the Earth will be changed to another Earth, and the heavens (also will be changed) and they will come forth unto Allah, the One, the Subduer.” [Sūrah Ibrāhīm: 48]

There will be no disputations on that Day. Allah subdued the people’s doubts and arguments in the worldly life with His clear signs, and in the Hereafter he subdues them with his judgment while they wait and look on.

Believers are aware that they will be held to account for their deeds on the Day of Judgment. They have hope in Allah and His reward on that Day. They look forward to Allah’s promise. This helps them to refrain from sinful and unjust acts and to check their false desires, even when the prospect of appropriating unlawful wealth or indulging a sinful pleasure is close at hand. They are fortified in their resolve to do right by the hopes they have in the Hereafter.
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