The Names Al-Qaabid, Al-Baasit— The Withholder, The Extender— are not specifically used as beautiful names in the Quran. Al-Qaabid is the One whose wisdom decides when to withhold something or to make something scarce, either physically or spiritually. He is the One who holds all hearts in His hand.
Al-Baasit is the One Who expands and amplifies all abundance and the One whose glory and abundance fill and expand the heart!
Qaabid and Baasit are Opposites
Qaabid comes from the root qaa-baa-daad, which refers to the attribute of withholding. It points to meanings like to lay hold of, to grasp, to make scarce, and to have absolute ownership of something (to hold in the hand). It also means to contract the heart, which causes distress, depression, and lack of joy.
Baasit comes from the root baa-seen-taa, which refers to the attribute of expanding. It means to extend, to grant abundance, to provide amply and to widen, to make spacious. The term Baasit includes a powerful and majestic sense of infusing something with a gift that will grow and flourish in great abundance.
Linguistically, the first name refers to decrease while the second to increase; these two actions embrace all things in existence. In other words, if Allah decreases something, this means that He withholds it, and if He increases something, this means that He extends it. Therefore these two names are mentioned together.
There are different fields of Qabd (withholding) and Bast (expanding). One of the meanings of Al-Qaabid and Al-Baasit has to do with people’s provision or sustenance.
Allah 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. [Quran, 29:62]
Regarding people’s provision, we should not say this is due to someone being intelligent or talented, because Allah ‘azza wajal is the One Who withholds or extends provision for people.
Allah’s extension of provision is for your honour or for your trial and His withholding of your provision is for treatment or protection. Allah 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). [Quran, 42:27]
Constriction and Expansion of Our Hearts
Allah ‘azza wajal withholds when it is good and gives when it is good. Sometimes our chests feel tight and our imaan feels low. This constriction of our hearts can bring us back to Allah if we take the step to strive. At other times our hearts feel spiritually expanded, our imaan, is strong, and we feel joy and strength to face the world. We daily struggle with the heart, which is called qalb in Arabic, which means to change or to turn. Just like Allah is Al-Qaabid, He is Al-Baasit who can remove any constriction we feel.
Allah equipped you with a special criterion: Al-Qabd, whereby you feel depressed and dispirited as soon as you commit a sinful deed, like lying to others, looking at indecent things etc. You feel Al-Qabd only if your heart is still alive and you are sensitive.
Why does Allah grant us our mind? So that we thereby know Him! Why does He grant us our pure original human nature? So that we know our mistakes! With our mind we know our Lord; with our pure original human nature we know our mistakes by feeling unhappy and depressed. But instead of staying in that state, we should get up, seek forgiveness, and follow up our bad deeds with good ones!
As well, sometimes Allah causes us to feel qabd (constriction) so that we reflect on its causes, like a stomachache tells us we ate something bad. Why do we feel like this? Did we put our trust in others than Allah? Did you seek the pleasure of others instead of the pleasure of Allah?
How Can You Live by This Name?
1. Know that after hardship comes ease.
If you feel in a state of constriction, look forward to expansion and lightness. Understand it is from Allah ‘azza wajal. The Story of Yusuf ‘alayhi sallam is characterized by the ups and downs; from the well, to a palace, from prison to Minister, from separation to unity. He made the best of his situation and knew the relief was coming. Have this attitude and strength and you will succeed, no matter the situation!
2. Contemplate nature.
Allah withholds the clouds from some people and provides them to others, and 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. Allah is also the One who ‘withholds’ (conceals) daylight and then brings it back. Allah says Then We withdraw it (daylight) to Us a gradual concealed withdrawal. [Quran, 25:46] Reflect on these types of qabd and bast every time you experience them!
3. Reflect on life and death.
Allah Al-Qaabid, Al-Baasit infuses souls into us (bast) and gives us life, and He also seizes souls and causes them to die (qabd). Allah says: Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent— [He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed– and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. [Quran, 67:1-2]
4. Be a source of expansion to others.
Be of those who offer relief to other people. Expand the hearts of others by reminding them of the blessings of Allah (swt) and that after hardship comes ease!
5. Do da’wah with these names!
While doing da’wah strike the balance between reassuring people of Allah’s mercy and warning them of His punishment. Because Allah is simultaneously Al-Qaabid and Al-Baasit, you as a da’ee or da’eeyah should also warn people away from disobeying Allah and encourage them to obey Him. Three things must always be dwelling together in your heart as a true believer: glorification of Allah (through contemplation on the miraculous universe), love for Allah (through contemplation of His divine favors), and fear of Him (through contemplation of His irresistible wrath and punishment).
6. Sleep in the name of Allah.
When you sleep it’s called a minor death. Allah withholds the souls of some and they will never wake up and He returns the souls of others and they do wake up. That’s why it’s very important to make your bedtime dua: Allahumma bismika amootu wa ahyaa- O Allah in Your Name I die and live.
7. Remember the Day of Resurrection!
Allah says about another example of His power of qabd: 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! [Quran, 39:67)]
8. Beg Al-Qaabid, Al-Baasit to guide your heart.
A happy heart is the heart filled with imaan. The Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam made this dua often: Yaa muqallibal quloob, thabbit qalbee ‘alaa deenik– (O Turner of the Hearts, keep my heart firm on Your Religion).
Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.
O Allah, Al-Qaabid, Al-Baasit, lead us by Your withholding and expanding to whatever is best for us in this life and the next. Guide our hearts and grant us strong faith to believe that after hardship comes ease. Make us contemplate your perfect power by reflecting on nature and by remembering our life, death, and resurrection, and favour us by being a source of expansion for others. Ameen!
The Understand Quran Academy Team
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