Al-Qabid, Al-Bassit _The Withholder, The Extender
n the following pages, Allah will manifest Himself to us through His Beautiful Divine Names, “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder) and “Al-Bassit” (the Extender); and the study will be both elaborate and ample if Allah so wills.
In fact, a great many brothers who have turned to Allah, Most Gracious, in sincere repentance and reformed their relationship with Him always ask this question: Sometimes we feel happy, delighted, satisfied, and relaxed, as if we were in Paradise; and sometimes, we feel so wretched and miserable that we wish we were dead. What is the explanation of these two opposite conditions? That is why I will try to give a brief but sufficient answer to such question, which a great many believers ask.
Among Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names are “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder) and “Al-Bassit” (the Extender). The first thing I would like to say is that these two Names of Allah are inseparable, i.e. it is not permissible to mention either without the other. This is because if you say that Allah is “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder), it would mean that you describe Allah as being niggardly or miserly; and Allah, All Mighty, is far above such evil qualities. However, when you say that Allah is “Qabid, Bassit” (Withholder, Extender), you describe Him as being Powerful and Wise. This is because Allah, All Mighty, says, “And it is Allah that withholds or extends (your provisions for you), and unto Him you shall return.” [II; 245]
Therefore, if you desire to say that Allah, Most Gracious, withholds in order to extend, does harm in order to do good, decreases in order to increase, or abases in order to exalt in honor, you are on the right way.
Linguistically speaking, the first Name denotes decrease while the second denotes increase; and these two actions embrace all things in existence, i.e. if Allah decreases something, this means that He withholds it; and if He increases something, this means that He extends it.
Now, we have to speak about fields of withholding or extension. The first meaning of Allah’s Divine Names “Al-Qabid” and “Al-Bassit” has to do with people’s provision or sustenance. In this context, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “Allah extends provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and straitens it for whom (He wills). Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of all things.” [XXIX; 62]
“Do they not see that Allah extends provision for whom He wills and straitens (it for whom He wills)? Verily, in that are indeed Signs for a people who believe.” [XXX; 37]
As regards people’s provision, do not say that someone is intelligent or talented, another has a great experience in business, a third is a good planner, a fourth is proficient, a fifth is well aware. This is because it is Allah, All Mighty, Who withholds or extends provision for people. It is He Who gives or withholds sustenance for people. It is He Who makes people rich or poor. If He desires to provide you with sustenance, He inspires you and enables you to have the necessary ways and means to earn money and make your living. On the contrary, if He desires to withhold sustenance from you, even though you might be rich, you, quite unknowingly, go bankrupt and penniless. If, for some reason or another, He desires to withhold provision from you, He blocks all ways in your face, even though you might be so smart or brilliant. Quite often, one might be forced to quit a certain business or break a partnership.
When Allah, All Mighty, says, “Allah withholds and extends (provision), and unto Him you shall be returned,” or “Allah extends provision for whomsoever He wills and straitens”, you should firmly believe that Allah is the All-Provider, and that He, only He, is the One Who withholds or extends provision for His human slaves. That is why it is usually said: If He (Allah) gives, He astonishes; but if He desires to settle accounts (with one of His slaves), He leaves nothing unheeded. However, dear reader, do not think that extension of provision on Allah’s part is a kind of extravagance or prodigality, or straitening of provision a kind of avarice or niggardliness. Such evil thoughts should never occur to you. Nay! When Allah, All Mighty, withholds, He does so not due to avarice; and when He enlarges provision, He does so not due to extravagance. He withholds due to His Infinite Divine Wisdom, Might, Power, Knowledge, and Ordainment; and He extends when He desires to honor or to try. In other words, Allah’s Extension of provision is for honor or trial; and His Withholding of provision is for treatment or protection. To this effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “And if Allah were to enlarge provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily, He is, in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer (of things that benefit them).” [XLII; 27]
Hence the first meaning of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Name, “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder) has to do with people’s provision. The second meaning of this Divine Name has to do with clouds. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says, “It is Allah Who sends the winds so that they raise clouds and spread them along the sky as He wills, and then break them into fragments until you see rain drops come forth from their midst! Then when He has made them fall down on whom He wills of His slaves, lo, they rejoice!” [XXX; 48]
Clouds are spread along the sky as Allah, All Mighty desires. He might withhold them from some people and provide them to others. At the same time, in some places the rain would be much heavier than in others. This means that Allah withholds rain from some and provides it to some.
The third meaning of these two Divine Names has to do with light and dark. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says, “Then We withdraw it (daylight) to Us a gradual concealed withdrawal.” [XX; 46]
Where is the day when the night is made to come, and where is daylight when the dark is made to fall? And where is the night when the day is made to come? You might feel lonely, worried, or afraid in the dark, but then, suddenly, the sun is made to rise, and you feel comfortable and peaceful. Hence, it is Allah, All Mighty, Who withholds, i.e. conceals, daylight and then brings it back.
The fourth meaning of these two Divine Names is that Allah, All Mighty, withholds, i.e. seizes, people’s souls and causes them to die, or releases them, i.e. brings them back into life. Hence, provision, clouds, light, dark, and souls are all under Allah’s Divine Control; and He, All Mighty, either withholds or extends them.
The fifth meaning of these two Names has to do with the earth, as Allah, All Mighty, withholds it, that is to say, He grasps it by His Divine Power. To this effect, Allah All Mighty, says, “They made no just esteem of Allah such as due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection, the whole of the earth will be in His Grasp, and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He and far Exalted is He above all that they associate as partners with Him!” [XXXIX; 67]
Allah, Most Gracious, also extends the earth in the sense that He stretches it and makes it suitable for human life. He also withholds the earth in the sense that He terminates it or causes it to perish, as He, All Mighty, has made it an abode for a certain limited appointed term.
The sixth meaning of Allah’s Divine Names, “Al-Qabid” and “Al-Bassit” is that Allah, Most Gracious, takes, i.e. accepts alms and charities. In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “If a slave (of Allah) gives a good charity, Allah accepts it from him, and He takes it in His Right Hand and breeds it as the one of you breeds his colt or young camel. And if a slave (of Allah) gives a mouthful, it grows in Allah’s Hand until it becomes as big as a mountain. Therefore, you should give alms.” [Narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad]
These two Divine Names of Allah also have to do with a very delicate and important thing that we all need badly, namely that Allah, Glory to Him, straitens and widens people’s hearts in the sense that He, All Mighty, fills them with both fear and hope. You are always either fearful of Allah or hopeful of Him. This has to do with your present condition. You should always ask yourself which condition you are in for the time being. You should make sure whether you are in a state of fear or hope in your relationship with your Lord, Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious. If you do not know, this means that you are careless and heedless, i.e. outside Allah’s Divine Care, just like a negligent student who does not care about his grades or exam results and knows nothing about them. In other words, a true believer should always be in either of two states: dispirited with fear or spirited with hope.
In fact, if Allah withholds spiritual enhancement from you, you feel lonely, dispirited, unhappy, deprived, miserable, and even outcast or rejected. This is because Allah, All Mighty, withholds spiritual enhancement from you. You read the Holy Quran, but you do not feel dully responsive towards it, you perform prayer, but you do not enjoy any feeling of veneration or submissiveness, you desire to sit down to contemplate Allah, Most Gracious, and His Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes, but you feel distracted from so doing. What do we call this state? It is simply a state of “Qabd”, i.e. withholding or straitening, which makes you feel dispirited or miserable because Allah has withdrawn His spiritual Enhancement from you. He makes you feel that He is the All Mighty, the All-High, the Exalted, while you are a mere slave of His and too insignificant to deserve His Divine Love or intimacy. This is because Allah is the best educator. If He, All Mighty, extends to His human slave such good feelings and conditions as happiness, delight, gaiety, and intimacy, and if such good conditions and feelings continue for long, the salve, after some time, may become negligent as regards his worship, devotion, prayers, or performance of good righteous deeds. Therefore, Allah, Most Gracious, withdraws such good feelings and conditions from him and causes him to feel miserable and dispirited, which makes him hasten to turn to his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, in sincere repentance and faithful devotion, and, hence, he is restored to his good condition from which he was deprived for some time. Therefore, Allah’s withholding of good feelings and conditions from His believing slave is meant to make him feel afraid and worried and in order to motivate him to turn to Allah in sincere repentance mixed with good hope.
Therefore, our Lord, Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, treats true believers with the above-mentioned treatment. But this kind of Divine Treatment does not apply to disbelievers or atheists, whose feelings of depression and misery come as a natural result of their sins and misdeeds and their deviation from their original pure nature in which Allah has created them, since every human being is created in a pure original nature. Once he blemishes such pure nature by transgressing against the rights of other fellow humans, making his glory on their destruction, and committing sins and misdeeds, he will certainly feel miserable and dispirited. However, disbelievers and atheists are not our concern in this lecture; our concern is pious righteous true believers, who are singled out for a very special kind of treatment by the Lord, Allah, Most Gracious. Such true believers sometimes undergo the above-mentioned conditions of distress and unhappiness, which are meant to be a kind of treatment and remedy from the Lord, Allah, Most Gracious, Who fills their hearts sometimes with depression and worry and sometimes with hope and happiness. True believers are sometimes optimistic, happy, fluent, eloquent, good looking, spirited, confident, hopeful, positive, bright, hopeful and cheerful. Such good condition is called in Arabic “Al-Bast” (gaiety), which Allah, Most Gracious, bestows upon a true believer’s heart.
However, there is a treacherous pitfall here: when a believer feels that he is nearer and more intimate to Allah, that he is successful and prosperous, that other people are miserable, negligent, and weak, their determination and will are weak, they are drowned in sins, they are disconnected, cast away, dismissed and damned, and that he, alone, is happy, such a feeling may conduce to a state of arrogance, pride, haughtiness, vanity, and conceit. The proper treatment for such case is called in Arabic “Al-Qabd”, i.e. Allah’s withholding of such good feelings and conditions from believers by way of punishment and in order to make them turn to Him with sincere repentance and true devotion. That is why a true believer is sometimes found miserable and depressed although he does not know what has happened to him. When asked why he is in such bad spiritual condition, he only says, “Praised belongs to Allah,” but he does not know the reason lurking behind such bad condition, as he has not committed a sinful deed.
This applies only to true believers; unbelievers undergo a completely different condition. We tell them: since you have disobeyed Allah, All Mighty, He casts feelings of depression into your heart, and since you have deviated from your pure original human nature, you are made to suffer such melancholy and downheartedness.
Once a true believer commits a sin or misdeed, he feels that the whole earth, vast as it is, is straitened for him. To this effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “And (He did also forgive) the three who failed to join in (Tabouk Expedition) until the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for them and themselves were (also) straitened for them, and (until) they perceived that there was no fleeing from Allah and no refuge but with Him. Then, He forgave them and accepted their repentance that they might beg for His Pardon. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” [IX; 118]
Those Companions, whom Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), commanded his venerable Companions not to talk to, felt that the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for them, and they realized that there was no fleeing from Allah nor was there a refuge but with Him. Sinners, deviants and the negligent are made to undergo such state of depression.
Suppose your mother asked you something, to get her a drug from a drugstore at midnight, for example, but you said, “Sorry Mum! I can’t! I feel I need to go to bed,” or “There is no drug-store open at such late hour,” Such a behavior on your part makes you feel guilty and depressed. This is something else. If someone neglects as regards his duties and responsibilities, if someone commits a sinful deed, deviates from the Right Path, slanders another fellow human or speaks badly about him, if he transgresses against rights of other fellow humans or looks at indecent or unlawful things, and if someone commits a sinful deed or deviation, he will certainly feel depressed. However, such kind of depression resulting from sinful deeds or deviations is not our concern in this lecture.
I would like to say that if man obeys Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, and, therefore, he feels superior and prosperous or that Allah loves him and bestows his Divine Favors upon his heart, he might slip into a dangerous condition in which he might become arrogant, hyper-confident and self-conceited. The proper Divine Treatment or such an illness is “Al-Qabd”, i.e. Allah’s Withdrawal of such good spiritual condition from him and replacing it with feelings of depression and misery. Therefore, you might sometimes find a true believer unhappy and depressed: he reads the Holy Quran, but he does not feel any tranquility or peace of mind, he is not so eloquent or fluent in speech as he usually is, he stands to perform prayer, but he does not feel due submissiveness or veneration to the Lord, Most Gracious. This is a kind of Divine Treatment for those who become self-conceited or arrogant, or feel superior to other fellow humans. This is a state of “Qabd”, as mentioned above.
However, when a true believer feels lonely, depressed, uncomfortable, dispirited or downhearted, he might slip into a very serious condition, namely despair, which is, in turn, followed by a state of “Bast”, i.e. Divine Extension of good feelings of happiness, gaiety, and contentment. Therefore, as a true believer, you should know that you are always in a state of either “Qabd” or “Bast”. This is because Allah, All Mighty, is “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder) and “Al-Bassit” (the Extender). If the state of “Qabd” (Withholding of good feelings) suits you best, Allah, Most Gracious, causes you to be in a state of “Qabd” by straitening the world for you and making you feel lonely, depressed, dispirited and downhearted. But once you reach a state of despair, there comes the state of “Bast”, in which Allah, Most Merciful, fills your heart again with such great feelings as nearness, intimacy, happiness, and spiritedness. As a true believer, you are between either of two cases: “Qabd” or “Bast”. But what is the proper treatment? The treatment is, simply, that if Allah deservedly puts you in a state of “Bast”, you should never become self-conceited, self-confident, or arrogant; and you should beware of the feeling that you are superior to other fellow humans or better than they are.
Once again, I reiterate that with “Bast” there is the danger of slipping into self-conceitedness. That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “If you were not to commit sins, I would be afraid for you of something more serious.” What is that thing which is more serious than committing sins? It is self-conceitedness. However, if you are befallen by a state of “Qabd”, you should never slip into despair.
Allah, the Lord of all worlds, is also the Lord of the human race. He, Most Gracious, breeds their bodies with material sustenance and their souls by causing them to shift from one spiritual condition to another. In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says, “So invoke not with Allah another god lest you should be among those who receive punishment. And warn your tribe of near kindred. And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you. Then if they disobey you, say, ‘I am innocent of what you do.’ And put your trust in the All Mighty, the Most Merciful, Who sees you when you stand up (alone for prayer at night), and your movements among those who prostrate themselves (to Allah in prayer). Verily, He, only He, is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [XXVI; 213-220]
As a true believer, you are made to shift from one spiritual condition to another, from a state of “Bast” to another of “Qabd” and then again from the latter state to the former, and so on. This is because you are under Allah’s Divine Care and Education; and, therefore, you should surrender yourself to Him.
However, if you are rendered into a state of “Qabd”, after having committed a sinful deed or an act of deviation, transgression, or disobedience, you should be certain that such state of “Qabd” comes after each and every sinful deed that one commits, and, therefore, has nothing to do with our lecture. In other words, man is naturally predisposed to feel depressed after each sinful deed that he commits. This is “Al-Fitrah”, i.e. the pure original human nature.
Why does Allah, Most Gracious, grant us our mind? The answer is: so that we know Him thereby! Why does He grant us our pure original human nature? The answer is: so that we know our mistakes thereby!
With our mind we know our Lord; and with our pure original human nature we know our mistakes, by feeling unhappy and depressed.
Narrated An-Nawas bin Sam’an: I asked Allah’s Messenger concerning “Al-Bir” (piety) and “Al-Ithm” (sin), and He, (PBUH), said: “Piety is good character, and sin is something that clashes in your breast and you do not like other people to see (it).” [Sahih Muslim]
You should also know that you are equipped with a special scale or criterion, “Al-Qabd”, whereby you feel depressed and dispirited as soon as you commit a sinful deed: when you tell lies to others, when you transgress against others, when you betray others, when you look at indecent or unlawful things, when you calumniate or slander others, …etc, which you feel only if your heart is sill alive and you are sensitive.
Sometimes, man’s pure original human nature is obliterated and the criterion, whereby he distinguishes right from wrong and good from evil, is destroyed; and man becomes another creature that does not know what goodness is. To this effect, the venerable Companion, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, quotes Allah’s Messenger as saying, “If a believer commits a sinful deed, a black mark grows in his heart. If he repents, gives up (sins), and asks for forgiveness, his heart is polished again; but if he adds more (sins), it (the black mark) increases: and this is the ‘Ran’, which Allah mentions in His Book (the Quran), ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.’” [Sunan At-Tirmithi]
Consecutive sins and misdeeds, deep involvement in the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of the present world, transgression against other fellow humans, shunning worships and devotional services, and forsaking remembrance of Allah, are all conducive to a sealed, wrapped up, heart:
“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes there is a covering. And theirs will be a great torment.” [II; 7]
If man’s heart is filled with love for this present world, there is no room left for other things. Therefore, if the Lord seals the heart, there is “Qabd”, i.e. depression, downheartedness, and loneliness resulting from sins and misdeeds. This can be cured with acts of devotion and obedience. However, the state of “Qabd”, which true believers incur but for no overt reason, is definitely a kind of Divine Treatment to such believers. In this case, scholars say: “A believer has to endure until such state is removed by Allah’s Will.”
There is another delicate meaning of Allah’s Divine Name, “Al-Qabid”, namely that “He is the One Who controls everything.” Another meaning is the “All-Powerful”. Sometimes, you cannot implant sadness in the heart of a happy person. If you speak to him, he does not listen to you. But our Lord, Allah, All Mighty, is Powerful over all things, and He withholds or extends, as He pleases. He withholds good thinking from you and causes you unable to understand a thing.
An old friend of mine, who was a self-conceited student, was taking an exam in which he was asked about Berlin Conference. He sat for a whole hour trying to remember where the conference was held, although the name of the conference itself shows clearly that it was held in Berlin! Sometimes, in critical situations, we see things contrary to what they really are. Therefore, if man feels proud of his mind and intelligence, he is made to commit the silliest mistakes that even the most stupid people never do. This is just because Allah, All Mighty, desires to show him that He, the Almighty, is “Al-Qabid”: He, Glory to Him, withholds understanding from you and makes your mind unable to understand a thing. He, All Mighty, withholds happiness from your heart and makes you feel depressed and dispirited, although there is no apparent reason for such bad state in which you are put: your house is vast, your wife is more than excellent, your children are healthy and your income is quite good. This is because your heart is in Allah’s Divine Hand and under His Divine Control. It is He Who makes you happy or withholds happiness from you. Not only that, but also He has full command over your heart and mind: He withholds understanding from your mind just as he withholds happiness from your heart.
Hearts are of two kinds: one that is full of happiness, contentment, and Divine Enlightenment, and another that is hard, desolated, petrified, dead, senseless, and merciless. If Allah withholds happiness from someone’s heart, he is by no means happy; if He withholds magnanimity from someone’s heart, it will never be magnanimous; and if He withholds provision from someone, he will never be provided. Quite often, you meet people who sorrowfully say, “Things are never as I desire.” In the same context, an emigrant Lebanese poet wrote:
I go after provision westwards, while it is going eastwards,
And, I sear, if I went eastwards, it would go westwards!
If Allah, All Mighty, desires to withhold provision from you, you will be poor even if you travel to the richest countries in the world. But if He so wishes, He makes you well off in your own poor country and under the worst circumstances. This is because He is the All-Provider. Such is true Faith!
They also say: Allah also withholds happiness from the soul, and hence, it does not taste of happiness but is invaded by pessimism and melancholy. And He withholds delight from the spirit, and, hence, it does not taste of delight. None of Allah’s creatures could ever escape from His Divine Judgment and Ordainment. And He is Most Wise in His Divine Work and Decree. That is why our Lord, Allah, Glory to Him, says, “And I respite them: certainly, My Plan is Strong.” [VII; 183] In this Quranic Verse Allah, All Mighty, describes His Divine Plan as being Strong, like a tough unbreakable cable whereby a disbeliever is tied. But Allah, All Mighty, usually leaves this cable loose; and a disbeliever, due to his ignorance, wrongly thinks that he is free and, therefore, he moves around, does harm to other fellow humans, does mischief in the earth, boasts, displays arrogance and insolence, challenges, philosophizes, goes beyond bounds, transgresses against other human beings, and wrongly thinks that he is powerful over all things. But suddenly, in one single instant, Allah, All Mighty, pulls the cable and seizes him. Hence, Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Qabid” is manifested in this Quranic Verse, “And I respite them: certainly, My Plan is Strong.”
Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Qabid” also means that He, All Mighty, can block your mind for you, make your heart desolated and your soul melancholic and pessimistic. There are extreme cases of depression that drive people to commit suicide. However, a true believer is safe from such bad psychological disorder.
Here is another opinion proposed by Al-Qushairi, who says, “ ‘Al-Qabd’ and ‘Al-Bast’ are two conditions whereby Allah educates those who are conscious of Him.” In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says, “My Lord has educated me, and He has educated me (perfectly) well.”
One of our mosque brothers had a small factory for making clothes. The factory did not sell by retail but only by hundreds of dozens. However, another brother went to the factory to buy some clothes - only six pieces actually. Feeling rather humiliated, the owner of the factory answered arrogantly, “We do not sell by retail here.” Having been shocked by the factory owner’s answer, the other brother said good-bye and left the factory with much embarrassment and shame. The factory owner said: “I swear by Allah! No customer, or any other human being, entered my factory to buy anything for twenty-three days! I have taken the lesson and now I sell even one piece to anyone who enters my factory.” Such is Allah’s Divine Education! You utter one word out of its proper place, and hence, you are barred from the Lord for a whole week and your heart is filled with loneliness, sorrow and depression. If there is any kind of negligence or indifference, “Al-Qabd” (withdrawal of the good laudable feelings and conditions) comes from the Lord. Such withdrawal provides clear evidence that Allah is rejecting you, rejecting your bad work, and rejecting your bad behavior. Therefore, He withdraws happiness from your heart and replaces it with depression. Only sensitive believers conceive such delicate notion!
The scale that is designed for measuring the weight of heavy cars does not weigh a kilo of coffee, five grams of gold or a small piece of diamond. In other words, it is insensitive to small weights. Some people are just like this scale, i.e. they are not sensitive enough. They are totally heedless of their Lord. Such heedless people are not our concern in this lecture.
However, after having received Allah’s Divine Kindness, Care and Guidance, a true believer is highly sensitive in his relationship with his Lord, Allah, Most Gracious. Once he feels that, while performing prayer, his heart is not comfortable or submissive enough, he realizes that there is something wrong with his behavior: perhaps he has uttered an unpleasant word, perhaps an evil thought has occurred to him, perhaps he has thought badly of Allah, perhaps he has hurt someone’s feelings, perhaps he has broken an innocent heart, or perhaps he has made a guilty sign, …etc.
That is why in His Divine Book, the Holy Quran, Allah, Most Gracious, swears by the self-reproaching self, i.e. the self that is constantly reproaching itself. In fact there are three kinds of selves: a peaceful self (that of the holy, righteous, good-doing, pious, dutiful Prophets and saints), a self that incites to evil (that of disbelievers and the disobedient), and a self-reproaching self (that of believers). Therefore, a true believer’s self is of the third kind, i.e. a self-reproaching self that is constantly reproaching itself: perhaps I have uttered a bad or improper word, perhaps I have withheld a charity, perhaps I have misbehaved, perhaps I have not been good mannered. In other words, the self of a true believer is constantly blaming and reproaching itself, i.e. it is self-reproaching.
Religious scholars say that “Al-Qabd” and “Al-Bast” are two conditions whereby Allah, Most Gracious, refines His slaves who are conscious of Him, and whereby He opens to them gates of knowledge and wisdom. If “Al-Qabd” befalls them, it comes from the gates of Divine Majesty and Wisdom of the Almighty Allah, the Most Great, the Most High. Thoughts come abundantly and fear gets stronger, and the slave tastes of the Divine Majesty of his Lord, Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious. Allah’s Divine Self is withheld from the slave, who feels his Lord’s Majesty. If this condition gets harder for the slave, Allah treats him with kindness, and, at a certain extent, which he can bear, his heart is relieved by “Al-Bast”. If he is befallen by a state of “Al-Qabd” and, hence, he feels afraid, Allah, the All-Wise, the Most Merciful, does not crush him, but rather gives him an amount of “Qabd” that he bears, and then causes a state of “Bast” to befall him. Such words are said to people who have great experience in their relationship with Allah, who have their own purity, kindness, delicacy, truthfulness, faithfulness, dutifulness, devotion, piety, and carefulness, and whose hearts are so sensitive and responsive. We beseech Allah, All Mighty, Most Gracious, to endue us with such hearts and such feelings!
As we mentioned above, there are scales that are insensitive to light weights because they are designed to weigh only heavy things such as cars or lorries, but there are scales that are highly sensitive to very light weights such as milligrams of gold, for example, or a tiny piece of thin paper. The same thing applies to scales of people’s sensitivity: the more faithful a believer is, the more accurate the scale of his sensitivity is. In other words, tell me at what level your scale of sensitivity is, I tell who you are and how much faith you have.
Moreover, an accurate scale should always give the same reading, i.e. it should never give different or wrong readings. The same thing applies to scales of people’s sensitivity: the more sensitive a person is, the fewer mistakes he makes, and the fewer sins and misdeeds he commits. The more faithful a believer is, the more accurate the scale of his sensitivity is and the stricter reckoning he gives to himself. The thing that I always like to say is: “He who gives himself a hard reckoning in the present world will receive an easy reckoning on the Day of Judgment; and he who gives himself an easy reckoning in the present world will receive a hard reckoning of the Day of Judgment.”
As regards Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names “Al-Qabid” and “Al-Bassit, the Prophet’s venerable Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, asked him, “O Messenger of Allah! Prices have risen. So set prices for us” He, (PBUH), said, “Verily, Allah is the Creator, the ‘Qabid’ (the Withholder), the ‘Bassit’ (the Extender) and the Price Setter.”
Those who bought apricots on the basis of “Daman” (i.e. purchase of fruits when they are still on the trees and before they are ripe) paid 20 pounds for each kilo. Upon harvesting, they sold them at only 5 pounds per kilo. This is because the yield was abundant, and, therefore, prices of apricots went down. When Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says that the One Who sets prices is Allah, Alone, this means that the yield is in His Divine Hand and under His Divine Control. Once, in Al-Jazeerah province, one sack of wheat yielded 80 sacks, while it had usually yielded 10-15 sacks. Remarkably, every year, the harvest of one of the plants yields extraordinarily abundant harvests: sometimes olives, sometimes potatoes, sometimes onions, …etc. Therefore, the prices of such vegetables or fruits go down remarkably. This provides clear evidence that Allah, All Mighty, is the only One Who sets prices: He withholds land production, and, thus, makes quantities decrease and prices go up, or He extends land production, and, hence, makes quantities increase and prices go down. Once again, I reiterate that Allah, All Mighty, is the Withholder, Extender and Price Setter.
Some scholars said that “Al-Qabid” (the Withholder) is He (Allah), Who reveals things to you in order to protect you, and “Al-Bassit” (the Extender) is He, (Allah), Who manifests His Divine Beauty and Majesty to you in order to preserve you. Thus, you are either protected or preserved by Him, Most Merciful. Also, Allah, All Mighty, is “Al-Qabid” and “Al-Bassit” in the sense that He receives charities from philanthropists and increases them, or extends His Divine Favors in abundance to His slaves and enables them to enjoy such Favors.
“Al-Qabid” is also He (Allah), Who makes you feel afraid of being separated from Him, and “Al-Bassit” is He (Allah), Who makes you feel secure with His Divine Pardon and Forgiveness. In this context, Imam Al-Ghazali says: “ ‘Al-Qabid’, ‘Al-Bassit’ from among human beings is someone who has great wisdom and eloquent speech.” For example, a preacher quite often tells people about Allah’s Divine Mercy, Love, Generosity, Bounty, Pardon, Forgiveness, …etc. He reassures them that Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Compassionate, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, …etc, that His Divine Mercy and Love embrace all of His righteous dutiful slaves, and that they should not worry at all since Allah is All-Pardoning and Most Generous. Such is great wisdom!
By the way, Imam Al-Ghazali was once writing a book when a tiny insect suddenly perched on his pen to drink some ink. He stopped and waited until it finished drinking. When he passed away, one of his students saw him in a dream. He asked him, “O Master! What did Allah do to you?” The Imam answered, “He had mercy on me because I waited for that tiny creature to drink.” Now, the question is: Is all his other righteous work of no value?! Certainly, such words on the student’s part are not wise enough!