THE LINGUISTIC MEANING
The word ‘al-Izz’ originally means strength (quwwah), severity (shiddah) and conquest (ghalabah).
“ And to Allaah belongs all Izzah ” (Munaafiqoon 63:8), meaning to Him belongs strength, might (i.e. al-Izzah) and overcoming (all else) (ghalabah). And (it is said) ‘rajulun azeez), meaning one who is invincible, who cannot be overcome or overwhelmed.
ITS OCCURRENCE IN THE QURAN
The word al-Azeez is mentioned 92 times in the Qur’an. Amongst them:
And know that Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (Al-Baqarah 2:260)
And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution. (Aali Imran 3:4)
And verily, your Lord! He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. (Ash-Shu’ara 26:68)
Verily, Allâh is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving. (Fatir 35:28)
That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. (Ya-Sin 36:38)
The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving. (Sad 38:66)
They had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allâh, the All- Mighty, Worthy of all Praise! (Al-Buruj 85:8)
THE MEANING OF THIS NAME WITH RESPECT TO ALLAAH
Qataadah said, “Al-Azeez, meaning, in his vengeance, when He seeks revenge” (at-Tabaree 28/36).
At-Tabaree said, “Al-Azeez, (meaning) severe in His vengeance to those from His enemies against whom He seeks revenge .” And he said, “Al-Azeez, in His vengeance to those from whom He seeks revenge, and no one is able to repel that from them” (Jaami’ ul-Bayaan 7/90, 28/36).
Ibn Katheer said, “Al-Azeez, meaning the one who has overcome everything thing such that He has subdued it, and He has overcome all things… (Ibn Katheer 4/343).
Al-Qurtubi said, “Al-Azeez, its meaning is the invincible who cannot be reached and overcome.”
Ibn Kaisaan said, “Al-Azeez, its meaning is the one who is not overcome by anything and its proof is, “ And there is nothing in the Heavens and nor in the Earth that can render Allâh incapable ” (Faatir 35:44).”
Al-Kasaa’ee said, “Al-Azeez (meaning) the one who overcomes, the victor (al-ghaalib), and from this is the saying of the Most High, “and he overpowered me in speech” (Sad 38:23)
And it is also said, “Al-Azeez, meaning the one for whom there is no equal, and its explanation is “ And there is nothing like Him ” (Shuraa 42:11).” (al-Qurtubi 2/131, Fath ul-Qadeer 5/208) and others.)
Al-Haleemee said, “Al-Azeez, its meaning is the one (whose status) cannot be reached and nor is it possible to compel him with something… (al-Minhaaj 1/95).
As-Sa’dee said, “Al-Azeez, the one to whom all Izzah (honour and power) belongs, the honour of power (quwwah), the honour of conquest and overcoming (ghalabah), the honour of restraining (imtinaa’), so He has disallowed that anyone should reach His level, and He has subdued all things in existence, the whole of creation has submitted to him and has humbled itself on account of His greatness (‘adhmah).” (Tayseer al-Kareem ar-Rahmaan,5/300-3001).
And this is also what has been put in arranged in poetry by Ibn al-Qayyim in his Nooniyyah:
And He is al-Azeez whose (status) cannot be reached (i.e. overcome)
How can He be reached, the owner of all Power?
And He is al-Azeez, the Overpowering (al-Qaahir), the Subduing Overcomer (al-Ghallaab)
Nothing overcomes Him, so these are two characteristics
And He is al-Azeez, with Strength (quwwah) and this is His description
Al-Izz, therefore, has three meanings
And these are the ones that are perfected for Him, free is He of all imperfection,
From every single aspect, the One who is devoid of any deficiency
So built upon all of this, the meaning of this name has four aspects to it:
1) Al-Azeez with the meaning of invincible who cannot be overcome.
2) Al-Azeez with the meaning of the Overpowering who cannot be overcome and nor subdued.
3) Al-Azeez with the of strong (qawiyy) and severe (shadeed) (in strength).
4) Al-Azeez with the meaning that he is extremely precious and that nothing equals Him or is like Him or is a peer to Him.
THE EFFECTS OF HAVING IMAAN IN THIS NAME
ONE: Having faith in this name leads to having courage and boldness because one knows that His Lord cannot be prevented and His command or affair cannot be repelled, whatever He wills will happen, even if the people will otherwise, and whatever He wills not will not happen, even if the people willed it. And all of this is amply illustrated in the stories of the Prophets that are mentioned in the Qur’aan. One can refer to Suraah Shu’araa (36) in which the name al-Azeez is continuously repeated following the story of each Prophet.
TWO: That the one who is Azeez, i.e. honourable with strength, might and honour, in this world and Hereafter, is the one who has been strengthened and granted honour and power by Allaah.
Say: “ O Allâh! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things .” (Aali Imran 3:26)
Hence, whoever desires honour and power (al-Izzah), then He should seek it from Allaah,
“ Whosoever desires honour, power and glory then to Allâh belong all honour … (Faatir 35:10). And this means that whoever wishes to have honour in this life and the next then he should obey Allaah and His Messenger, and this will allow him to reach that, because Allaah is the Owner of the World and Hereafter and to Him belongs all Power and Honour. And this is different to those who seek honour from other things, whether it be from the Unbelievers, such as the Jews, Christians and Pagans, while showing enmity to the Believers and to Allaah and His Sharee’ah and to His religion, as Allaah said, “ Those who take disbelievers for Auliyâ’ (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers, do they seek honour, power and glory with them? Verily, then to Allâh belongs all honour, power and glory .” (An-Nisa 4:139).
So with greatness of obedience, one’s honour increases. The most honourable of people are the Prophets, then those who follow after them from the Believers, those who follow their way.
THREE: The name al-Azeez is often connected to the name ar-Raheem such as what occurs in Surah Shu’araa (26) and others. Hence Allaah is ‘Azeez (strong, severe) in his mercy (Rahmah) and Raheem (merciful, kind) in his honour, power, strength and might (‘Izzah), and this is perfection embodied.
FOUR: Amongst the causes of honour (Izzah) are forgiveness, pardoning and humility. From Abu Hurairah (radiallaahu anhu) from Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) who said, “Charity never decreased anything from one’s wealth, and Allaah does not increase a person who is forgiving, pardoning except in honour. And no one showed humility to Allaah except that Allaah raised him (in rank).” (Muslim, no.2588 and at- Tirmidhi no.2097).
Hence, whoever pardoned someone for something while having the capability to seek revenge, then he will become great in the hearts of the people in the life of this world, or in the Hereafter, in the sense that his reward will be great. And whoever showed humility seeking nearness to Allaah, and not for any other objective, then Allaah will raise him amongst the people and make his status a lofty one.
FIVE: Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted, has named his Book “al-Azeez” in His saying, “ Verily, those who disbelieved in the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’ân) when it came to them (shall receive the punishment). And verily, it is an honourable respected Book (because it is Allâh’s Speech, and He has protected it from corruption, etc.). Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise (Allâh) .” (Fussilat 41:41-42). Qataadah said, “Allaah has strengthened it and honoured it since it is His Speech and He safeguarded it from falsehood.” (at-Tabaree 24/79).
SUMMARY AND ACTION PLAN
Memorise a selection of the verses in which the name al-Azeez is mentioned and then study what is before them and after them. Memorise the various meanings of this name, and see the various effects of having faith in this Name. For the next few days, try to spend time reflecting upon this Name and how it relates to the creation, and how you can worship Allaah through this name, based upon its various meanings that you have acquired from this brief study. Then if you do all the above well, then your behaviour ought to change in accordance to what faith in this name necessitates.
Al-Azeez (All Mighty) – Adapted from Shaykh Muhammad Hamood an Najdee’s book [PDF] – 5 Pages