Allah’s Name Al-Haleem— The Most Forbearing, The Calm Abiding, The Most Kind and Gentle— occurs eleven times in the Quran. His anger doesn’t overwhelm Him and He isn’t provoked by our ignorance and disobedience.
Al-Haleem keeps on bestowing blessings, both visible and hidden, even though we disobey Him and make many mistakes. Al-Haleem is so gentle to us that even though He can punish us instantly when we disobey Him, He grants us respite in a mild and serene manner, giving us the chance to turn back to Him!
Most Forbearing, Calm Abiding, Most Kind and Serene
Haleem comes from the root Haa-laam-meem, which points to the following main meanings: to be forbearing, mild, lenient, and clement, not hasty, calm and serene, managing one’s temper, and showing moderation. It also refers to being forgiving and gentle.
This name appears 21 times in the Quran in two derived forms. Examples of these forms are ahlaamin (dreams), al-huluma (puberty), ahlaamuhum (their minds), and haleemin (forbearing).
Allah’s name Al-Haleem refers to His perfect forbearance and kindness towards us. He observes disobedience to Him, yet anger doesn’t incite Him, nor does wrath seize Him, nor do haste and recklessness move Him to rush to take vengeance even though He’s utterly capable of doing that!
Why does Al-Haleem delay punishment?
Al-Haleem Himself says: And if Allah were to punish people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He gives them respite for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing. [Quran, 35:45]
Al-Haleem can delay a punishment to give you time to return to Him, seek His forgiveness, and change your ways, because He is Forbearing. He can even cancel your punishment altogether, because He is forgiving and pardoning. Isn’t Al-Haleem acting out His Love for us in an amazing way?
The hilm of people versus the hilm of Allah
Imagine that you got caught doing something bad, but the person who caught you let’s it slide and doesn’t punish you or embarrass you. How would you feel? Probably a mix of embarrassment, relief, and gratitude. Wouldn’t you tell them you’re not going to do it again and be grateful for their forbearance?
Now, what about Allah? Every single day we do things we shouldn’t, and in most instances He let’s it go. Because He is Al-Haleem, His hilm is far above the forbearance a human being can ever show!
A beautiful similitude: parents and children
The parental system in a family helps us know something about Allah! Look at the similitude of a father or mother; they don’t have any rancor or hatred towards their children. In fact, they’re ready to sacrifice everything for their happiness.
In this context Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah, and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’ [Al-Bukhaari, Muslim]
Who imbedded the great mercy and tenderness in a loving mother’s heart ? Allah Al-Haleem!
How Can You Live by This Name?
1. Be forbearing to others: contemplate and practice.
The Prophet said that forbearance is the best characteristic. When you let it slide once or twice but explode the third times because you have so much rancor inside you, this is the challenge. A lot of relationships and futures get destroyed because of how people act in rage.
Hilm is when you’re in a position to show your anger and get it out, but still hold it back. How can you be forbearing? One way is to contemplate the name Al-Haleem and be inspired by it. Another way is to simulate forbearance for the sake of Al-Haleem, even though you’re burning inside like a volcano.
Tell yourself: I’m suppressing my anger because I love Him and seek His Love, because I want to be close to Him and because I would like to obey His Messenger!
Remember; no matter your temper, everyone can practice developing forbearance.
2. Don’t take advantage of the hilm of Allah.
Al-Haleem says to the people who inherited a garden but didn’t let the poor benefit from it: Such is the punishment [of this world]. And the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew. [Quran, 68:33]. This punishment was a wake-up call for them and a mercy, because they realized the error of their ways. If Allah had allowed them to do as they wanted, their punishment in the Hereafter would be unforeseen! So know that Al-Haleem did set rules out for you and never take advantage of His forbearance.
3. Show a good example to a sinful person
Whenever you meet a sinning person, never be arrogant to him and try to advise him gently and by showing a good example. Think to yourself: such a sinful person may, one day, turn to Al-Haleem with sincere repentance and become better and dearer to Allah than I am.
Being forbearing would be letting go once, twice and even three times depending on the situation. Only put a person in check for the sake of Allah, so that they are made aware of the consequences of their actions and return to Allah.
3. Be grateful for the Hilm of Allah.
Just like we would be grateful to anyone who overlooks our faults and mistakes, recognize the extreme and intense forbearance of Al-Haleem towards you, and return to Him after you sinned. And as a way of being thankful to al-Haleem for His forbearance, remember to train yourself to be forbearing.
4. Make dua for hilm.
Make dua to Al-Haleem, asking Him for His forbearance and to aid you to be forbearing to others. Ask Al-Haleem for His forbearance for your loved ones. And ask Him to forgive you, because only He can protect you from His anger, an anger that is justified!
Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.
O Allah Al-Haleem, we know You are the Most Forbearing and You delay and cancel Your Punishment with great Wisdom. Protect us from taking advantage of Your Hilm by persisting in bad deeds, aid us to return to You after we sin, adorn us with gratitude for Your Forbearance and patience in hardships, make us of those who are forbearing and kind to others, never be arrogant and help us to develop hilm in times of anger, ameen!
The Understand Quran Academy Team
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