Al Qahir : The Irresistable
Al Qahhar : the All Compelling, The Subduer
The root word for ٱلۡقَهَّارُ is قَهر which is defined as:
1. to compel something or someone against his/her wishes
2. to subdue
3. to overcome
4. to force
Thus, with regards to Allah (سبحانه وتعال), the noble name Al-Qahhar can be translated as “the Subduer, i.e. the Subduer of His creatures by His sovereign authority and power and the Disposer of them as He pleases, with and against their will.”
Along with ٱلۡعَزِيزُ (the Powerful and Honorable) and ٱلۡجَبَّارُ (the Strong and Powerful), this noble name illustrates that Allah(سبحانه وتعال) has the supreme authority and power to do anything, and He can subdue or force anyone to compel to Allah’s Will against his/her wishes. This supreme power rests with only Allah (سبحانه وتعال).
Do they seek other than the religion of Allah, while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned.
In this verse, Allah (سبحانه وتعال) is telling us that everything that is created submits to Allah (سبحانه وتعال) willingly or unwillingly, such is the power and force of Al-Qahhar. If we ponder over this ayah and look around us, we will see the amazing truth in it. For example, the gravity of earth and the planets ensure that humans can only make an object go only so far. The limitations of the body ensure that we can only go at a certain top speed and nothing more. Regardless of how advanced the technology becomes, this technology will be compelled and will be subdued by Al-Qahhar to comply to His will, whether it is willingly or unwillingly. That shows how finite and limited we are, and how grand, powerful and majestic is Allah (سبحانه وتعال).
Al An’am 6:18
وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ
And He is the Irresistible (Supreme), above His slaves, and He is the All-Wise, Well¬Acquainted with all things
Al An’am 6: 61
وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ ۖ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ
He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and bad deeds) over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty
Ar Ra’d 13: 16
قُلِ اللَّـهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ
” Say: “Allâh is the Creator of all things, He is the One, the Irresistible.”
Ibrahim 14: 48
يَوْمَ تُبَدَّلُ الْأَرْضُ غَيْرَ الْأَرْضِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ ۖ وَبَرَزُوا لِلَّـهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens, and they (all creatures) will appear before Allâh, the One, the Irresistible.
Al Qahhar (the Subduer) is a hyperbolic form of Qahhir (the Irresistable\). It means the All Compelling Who subdues His creation with His sovereignty and Power.
Ibn Kathir said that the verse 6: 61 : And He is Irresistible above His slaves means the One to whom people surrendered, to Whose Majesty and Sovereignty all powers are humbled and submitted.
Some scholars said al Qahhar means the One whose revenge is intolerable. the Subduer of strong and powerful wrong doers.
Allah tells us how He subdued wrong doers strongly and mercilessly such as the Pharoah, Haman and Ubay bin Khalaf and many others from ‘Ad and Thamud.
Allah also subdues all His slaves at death as in ayat 6: 61
Allah is the One subduer, is the one Who Alone has the right to be worshipped. Everyone else is subdued. In Surah Yusuf, Prophet Yusuf said to his friends in prison
Yusuf 12: 39-40
“O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allâh, the One, the Irresistible? (39) “You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers,— for which Allâh has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgement) is for none but Allâh. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not. (40)
Al Ghafir 40: 16
يَوْمَ هُم بَارِزُونَ ۖ لَا يَخْفَىٰ عَلَى اللَّـهِ مِنْهُمْ شَيْءٌ ۚ لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ لِلَّـهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
The Day when they will (all) come out, nothing of them will be hidden from Allâh. Whose is the kingdom this Day? (Allâh Himself will reply to His Question): It is Allâh’s the One, the Irresistible!
The last ayah mentioned (in chronological order) is ayah 16 from Surah Ghafir. The ayah is very clear, explicit and dripping with majesty and grandeur. Allah (سبحانه وتعال) is telling us about the Day of Judgement, and how on that day when all of mankind will be summoned abruptly from their graves, nothing on that day will be hidden from Allah (سبحانه وتعال). The مَـٰلِكِ يَوۡمِ ٱلدِّين will show everyone who is the King and the Master on this day of chaos: it is none other than Allah, الْوَاحِدُ ٱلۡقَهَّارُ.
The mention of Al-Qahhar emphasizes in very clear and certain terms that Allah will subdue everyone and force everyone on that day to comply with His Will. For example, we know from Surah Tariq, ayah 10 that on the Day of Judgment, man will have neither power nor any helper except Allah, الْوَاحِدُ ٱلۡقَهَّارُ. We also know that no one can intercede for anyone except by Allah’s leave, nor can anyone help anyone else on this day. So truly, everyone without exception on this day will be subdued and forced to comply – willingly or unwillingly – with the Will of Allah and only Allah, الْوَاحِدُ ٱلۡقَهَّارُ, Exalted is He above the seven heavens (سبحانه وتعال).
A Reminder from a lecture the reckoning by Abdul Jabbar
1. Ilm Fruits
2. The Perfect Names of Allah – Dr Umar S al Ashqar