Connecting with Al Jabbar
By Meru Hussain
Beauty. There’s something about beautiful things that just captures you: through the eyes you experience a plethora of emotions seeping through your body, altering your mood, heightening your senses. According to a hadith of the Prophet (saw): ‘Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty,’ but what about broken things?
I used to work an hour’s commute away, and I remember on my way home one day I chanced upon a video about the tafsir of Surah Ad-Duhaa. Standing on a train, listening to this video through my earphones, I stood amongst a sea of unfamiliar faces connecting with the words of my Lord. With tears streaming down my cheeks, unable to contain the flood of emotions I stood there, listening in complete awe.
I didn’t even realise I was broken.
The video explained that the Prophet (saw) went through a period early on in his Prophethood where he felt disconnected, and he began to wonder if perhaps Allah was angry with him; and when he confided these feelings to his beloved wife Khadijah (RA), she reassured him that Allah would not abandon him, she reminded him of all the good he did.
As for us, sometimes when WE are doing good, we can never be sure if we are sincere, or if our deeds are accepted – we may feel a niggling doubt that causes us to question, ‘What if Allah is angry with me?’
Sometimes even our closest companions and confidants are unable to reassure our restless hearts; The Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam went to Khandijah, yet Allah knew that he (saw) was actually seeking reassurance from Him alone.
And so, revelation came, with an oath; relaying each of the feelings of the Prophet (saw) with a reassuring response. SubhanAllah ! (Glory be to Allaah!)
‘And He found you lost and guided you’ 93:7
As I stood there crying, I found a connection with the Prophet (saw) – he too was human and susceptible to the emotions we endure today. His life was dedicated to teaching us, his ummah, how to rise and move forward in the face of adversity. I realised that in our humanity we are divided by happiness, connected in pain. The sky at night is decorated with broken stars and a scarred moon reminding us that perfection is not for this world, but that striving for it is a requirement.
Al Jabbar knew what I needed that day; it was not by chance that I came across that video, He knew.
Just as He knew that the the Prophet (saw) sought guidance before revelation despite a ‘normal’ life, He knew what my burdened heart needed and when.
Allah (swt) tells us:
90:4 -لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ
‘We have certainly created man into hardship.’
The way in which we came into this world was through hardship, preparing us for a journey of trials and lessons. Allah is Al Jabbaar (The Compeller) processing us for completion to reach our destination: Home.
We were created as inheritors of Paradise navigating this world to find our way back. To find our way amongst the pain of this life, the helplessness of the oppressed, the sadness, the lows, the highs, the happiness and joys.
The name Al Jabbaar is derived from the root j-b-r meaning to restore, to set (broken bones), bring back to normal. It also takes the meaning of to force, to compel, strong, haughty. This name is only mentioned once in the Quran in Surah Hashr (59:23)
انَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَهُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا 59:23 -يُشْرِكُونَ
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.
However, the other 9 instances where Jabbaar is mentioned in the Quran is for people who are oppressors or committing injustice, by compelling and forcing others.
This name has so many meanings that one must seek to understand all 3 meanings to connect with Him through this name.
1)To compel; force; pressurise someone to do something i.e. وَإِذَا بَطَشْتُم بَطَشْتُمْ جَبَّارِينَ “And when you strike, you strike as tyrants.” (Qur’an, 26:130)
2) Jabr means to be strong, tall, great; When Bani Israel were commanded to enter Jerusalem they said:
إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ “Indeed within it is a people of tyrannical strength.” (Qur’an, 5:22)
3) To repair the broken; mend and reform something, where there is a deficiency you make up for it.
When I first sought to understand this name, I couldn’t correlate the 2 opposite meanings of compelling and mending. However, as I went through life being broken, then crushed, then reformed, I began to understand that had Al Jabbaar not compelled me to get back up after every fall, I would be stuck in that state of despair and hopelessness. Had Allah not mended the crevices of my heart, I would not be able to learn to increase my love for Him. With every mend, He compels my heart to expand, allowing space to fill it with more love for Him. As Brene Brown puts it,
“The broken-hearted are the bravest among us – they had the courage to love.”
Al Jabbar is not limited to just my understanding- He is the restorer of my faith, the One Who heals all my wounds, my Perfect Comforter that no physical embrace can offer.
Just as the breaking of my heart was unheard, at first I was not able to listen to the lesson that He was teaching me. Yet just as a set of broken bones need time to heal, Al Jabbar would allow me time to learn, to be patient when I stumble, to guide me when I get lost, to find my way back to Him seeking the countenance of His beautiful face.
The prophet Ibrahim (as) found salvation walking on fire; Yusuf (as) cultivated Taqwa ( God-consciousness ) and sabr ( patience) in the confinement of prison, and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) found the divine guidance of light in the darkness of a cave. The stars in the night sky are stark reminders that even the broken can shine brightly.
The heart was created for the remembrance of Allah so when you try to fit the finite world in it, be prepared for heartbreak. Yet if you fill it with Allah then know, without a shadow of a doubt, the infinitely Merciful will embalm it back to safety.
The only place left to turn to when you are broken is Al Jabbar. He alone knows how to mend your broken heart. Only He can fill it with the love it seeks. Only He can put together the pieces and stabilise it with compassion.
He can compel it to carry on with your journey to the eternal Home. That home where I pray we will all be reunited with our beloved.
About the author:
Meru is a mother of 2 with a background in IT currently working on her own personal development and is a community activist. She is pursuing a passion of writing and blogs on her Instagram page musingsofmeru.