Al Jabbar – the Compeller is one of the best names of Allah.
The word ‘Jabbaar’ appears 10 times in the Qur’an, but only once for Allah (swt). This word is used nine times for people who are strong, oppressive, or commit dhulm (injustice), who compel and force others. The one that is used for Allah can be found in Surat al-Hashr (verse 23 )
Surah al Hashr 59: 23
He is Allâh beside Whom is Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allâh! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him. (23)
Al-Jabbaar is one of the authentic Names of Allah (swt) and it means ‘one who compels or restores.’ Al-Jabbaar, like the majority of the Names of Allah, is of an intensified form so Al-Jabbar not only means ‘one who restores,’ but “the One who restores completely.’
Jabbaar is from the root jabr (ج ب ر or جبر), and this root has several meanings:
a) The first meaning is ‘to pressurize, to compel and force someone to do something.’ From this, it is understood to mean ‘to tyrannize someone and be tyrannical.’ We learn from the Qur’an that:
“And when you strike, you strike as tyrants.” (Qur’an, ash Shuara 26:130 )
Similarly in Surat al-Maryam, Prophet `Isa `alayhi salaam says:
“And He has not made me a wretched tyrant.” (Qur’an, al maryam 19:32 )
b) Secondly, jabr means ‘to be strong, tall and great.’ ‘Nakhlatun Jabbaarah’ is used to describe a tall date palm tree that is very strong and gives a lot of fruit. Also in the Qur’an, when Bani Isra’eel (the children of the tribe of Isra’eel) were told to enter the city of Jerusalem, they said:
“Indeed within it is a people of tyrannical strength.” (Qur’an, 5:22 )
c) The third meaning of jabr is ‘to repair the broken, fix and reform something.’ When something is incomplete and you complete it, that act is called jabr. Furthermore, when there is a deficiency and you make up for it that is called jabr. (Interesting fact: from the same root is the word ‘algebra:’ you ‘fix’ the equation. The word ‘jabeerah’ is also used for a splint, to help broken bones.)
If Allah is Jabbaar, what does it mean?
a) According to al Khattaabi, it means: “He is the One who forces His creation upon what He commands and upon what He has forbidden. In other words, whatever Allah wills, His will is executed.” The first meaning of Jabbaar is ‘Compeller,’ so whatever He wills is what happens. He is the One who implements His will.
AL Jabbar may have derived from the word ijbar which means subduing and coercing. Thus Allah the is the Compeller to Whom belongs glory and supremacy.
Al Ghazali defined the name Al Jabbar as “the One Whose will is carried out by force on everybody and no one’swill affect Him. He is the One Who controls everyone. No one can do Him any harm. Therefore the Absolute Compeller is Allah.
All creatures submit to the Power of Allah. If He wants something to be, He just issues His Command and it is:
Yassin 36: 82
Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” and it is! (82)
Al Imran 3: 83
Do they seek other than the religion of Allâh (the true Islâmic Monotheism worshipping none but Allâh Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned. (83)
b) Secondly, it means ‘al ‘Aali fawqa khalqihi’, the One who is Exalted and High above His creation. In other words, He is the Greatest One. We said ‘nakhlatun jabbaarah’ is the tallest tree in the orchard. Allaah (swt) being al-Jabbaar is the Greatest and there is no one else who is greater than Him. He is the One who is Qawwiy, A’dheem (The Most Strong, The Most Great). He is the One who has ‘tawl’: He owns a lot and can give a lot. The Supreme Power and Authority belongs to Him Alone.
Al Jabbar means the Highest and the Most Supreme Over His Creatures
Allah is Higher and more Supreme than His creatures in His attributes and Compelling signs. He deserves highness and dominion.
c) Thirdly, Jabbaar means ‘Al Muslih, the One who Reforms, the One who fixes the situation for His creation. When we find our resources to be incomplete, Allah (swt) completes them. When we are unable to reach our goals, Allah (swt) assists us. He is the One who amends the affairs of His creation. It means if a slave is unable to reach His goal, Al-Jabbaar will enable Him and provide Him with the sources to reach this goal.
Al jabbar is derived from the root word jabara which means to cause something to grow.
Thus Allah helps the poor, needy, oppressed and afflicted people. Allah relieves the pain and alleviate the distress of the sick people.
Insya Allah in our du’a we can call to Al Jabbar whenever we are in distress. May Allah always protect us.
If Allah is Al-Jabbaar, what are we supposed to do?
1) We must know that He is Al Jabbaar alone, and we cannot imitate Him. For many Names of Allah, we must act upon them in a way most suitable for us. Allah is Ar-Rahman (The Entirely Merciful) so we should have mercy on others.
However, because Allah is Al-Jabbaar it does not mean we become jabbaar. Why? Because He has told us to not be jabbaar and He does not like those who are arrogant.
From Surat Ibrahim we learn:
“And they requested victory from Allah, and disappointed, [therefore], was every obstinate tyrant.” (Qur’an, Ibrahim 14:15)
Similarly, Allah says:
‘Thus does Allah seal over every heart [belonging to] an arrogant tyrant.” (Qur’an, 40:35)
So whoever is jabbaar, it leads to their heart being sealed and his ultimate loss in this life and the next.
From a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, we learn that hellfire is for the jabbaareen, those who are jabbaar, Hellfire said: ‘I have been given the privilege of receiving the arrogant and the tyrants.’
We may think that we are not oppressive, and that such a title only belongs to the rulers who kill people and commit injustice, but we are also jabbaar sometimes. In the context of Isa (as), it is said he was righteous towards his mother and he was not a jabbaar (disobedient). So jabbaar means ‘one who is forceful against his parents’ in this context; i.e., when parents tell their child to do something and the child doesn’t listen. Jabbaar is not just a mighty tyrannical ruler, but jabbaarcan be any person who refuses to obey, harms and hurts other people and does not listen to the authority. The first lesson for us is that we are ‘ebaad (servants) and we should recognize ourselves as ‘ebaadAllah (servants of Allah).
2) The second lesson we learn is that if someone is unable to reach their goals, they find constriction in time and ability. We should ask Al-Jabbaar to fix our deficiencies. When we are unable to achieve a goal and find ourselves weak and when we find ourselves in a mess, we should ask for the help of Al-Jabbaar who will make up all of the deficiencies.
Allah showed His slaves the path to faith and the path to disbelief
The compulsion relates to Allah’s Management of the universe. In the religious matter, however, Allah legislated to His slaves whatever pleases Him without compelling them to carry out anything of them.
He commanded them to do certain things and asked them to avoid others. Whoever obeys Allah’s Commands shall go to Paradise and whoever disobeys shall be thrown to Hell.
Al Kahf 18: 29
And say: “The truth is from your Lord.” Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve. Verily, We have prepared for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers), a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh). And if they ask for help (relief, water) they will be granted water like boiling oil, that will scald their faces. Terrible is the drink, and an evil Murtafaq (dwelling, resting place)! (29)
Ash Shams 91: 7-10
And by Nafs (Adam or a person or a soul), and Him Who perfected him in proportion; (7) Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him; (8)
Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allâh ordered, by following the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds). (9) And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself (i.e. disobeys what Allâh has ordered by rejecting the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism or by following polytheism or by doing every kind of evil wicked deeds) (10)
Du`a’s with this Name
a) In between the two sajdahs, there is the du`a’:
Allahumma-ighfirlee warhamnee wahdini warhamnee wajburnee wa ‘aafinee warzuqnee warfa’nee,
‘O Allah, forgive me, have mercy upon me, guide me, enrich me, give me health, grant me sustenance and raise my rank.’
Jabr in this duaa does not mean to compel, but rather it means ‘fix my situation’, in the meaning of muslih (reformer). Remember we explain that Jabr can alsoo mean fix something broken.
b) There is a sahih hadith in Abu Dawood that mentions a du`a’ that the Prophet ﷺ would recite in sujood and ruku’:
Subhana dhil jabaroot wal malakoot wal kibriyaa’i wal ‘athamah.
Glorified is the the One who possesses jabaroot- which means greatness and power here, wal malakoot is all of His dominion, wal kibriyaa’ and the greatness, wal ‘athamah, and the grandness. (‘How perfect He is, The Possessor of total power, sovereignty, magnificence and grandeur.’)
We should write these du`a’s down and memorize them, so we may benefit from them.
Why are these du`a’s mentioned in sajdah? We are most close to Allah in sujood and mentioning His Greatness expresses our humility.
So Allah (swt) is Al-Jabbaar: The One who Compels, The One who Reforms and The One who is Great.
1. The perfect names of Allah -Dr Umar S. Al Ashqar