Allah calls Himself Al-Qayyoom— The Sustainer, The Self-Subsisting— on three occasions in the Quran. Al-Qayyoom is the One who is self-existing while every being exists through Him and because of Him. He is completely free of any dependence on anything else, while the whole creation depends entirely on Him!

The Self-Existing, The All-Sustaining

Qayyoom comes from the root qaaf-waw-meem, which points to five main meanings. The first meaning is to stand or to rise up. The second main meaning is to be or begin, the third to be ongoing and to exist. The fourth main meaning is to be founded or to be built on and the fifth is to manage and to make right.

This root appears 660 times in the Quran in 22 derived forms. Examples of these forms are qaamoo (“they stand”), aqeemoo (“establish”), istaqaamoo (“remain firm”), al qawma (” the people”) and al qiyaamah (“the Resurrection”).

Al-Qayyoom comes always in combination with the beautiful name Al-Hayy in the Quran, with Al-Hayy referring to the attribute of everlasting life and Al-Qayyoom signifying the attribute of self-existing life. Al-Qayyoom is the One who established Himself on His own and is the foundation upon which all things exist. He is the One who sustains and manages the complete creation and at the same time is without any need of any type of sustenance Himself!

Al-Qayyoom Himself says: . . . Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence [Quran,2:255] And [all] faces will be humbled before the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. And he will have failed who carries injustice [Quran, 20:111]

The beautiful concept of qiyaam

Al-Qayyoom is among the greatest of the names of Allah ‘azza wajal and its origin is the word al-qiyaam. From this root a few of the most important concepts of Islam evolve. The iqaamah, is the call just before the obligatory prayer is established. In our prayer we recite the Quran in the standing position (qiyaam); we do not recite Quran in the sitting position, nor during our ruku (bowing), nor during our prostration. Great importance has the night prayer for the believer, which is referred to as qiyaam ul layl. True believers are adorned with istaqaamah (to remain firm) on the straight path of Islam (siraatul mustaqeem) and ultimately we will all be brought in front of Al-Qayyoom on the Day of Standing, Yawm ul Qiyaamah.

How Can You Live By This Name?

1. Establish salah.
Aqeemoo as-salah! Al-Qayyoom instructs you many times in the Quran to establish the prayer. But do you really establish your salah in your daily life, or do you fit your prayers around your daily routine?  One of the sahaabah asked: “What is the thing that Allah loves most?” The Prophet said: The thing that Allah loves most is when his people pray salah on time.” [Al-Bukharee] Fit your daily activities around your salah and not your salah around your daily activities. Focus on praying your salah on time for a week and see the difference in your emaan!

2. Recite surah Al-Ikhlaas often.
This surah contains a beautiful description of Allah, His Oneness and His self-existing and sustaining attributes . The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heard a man reciting ‘Qul huwa Allaahu ahad,’ and said, “It is his right.’ They asked, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what is his right?’ He said, ‘Paradise is his right.’ [ Ahmad] He salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said: “Whoever recites Qul huwa Allaahu ahad ten times, Allaah will build for him a house in Paradise.” [Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer] So recite it whenever you can: whenever you have a spare moment, fill it with recitation of surah al-Ikhlaas!

3. Help sustain the needy.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: If you love the poor and bring them near you . . . Allah will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.[At-Tirmidhi]

4. Humble yourself.
We have no reason to ever be arrogant, and this name should humble us.  When you were born your parents needed to do everything for you; you could not even sit by yourself. As you grow, developing your intellect and body, you become less dependent on your parents. Then your body and mind start decreasing in strength, and you go back to the beginning where others need to take care of you again. Even when you feel strong, still remember you are completely dependant on Al-Qayyoom.

5. Help in the cause of Islam.
Even though Al-Qayyoom does not need any of us, nor does He need food, drink or sleep, He made you a beautiful promise in the Quran: O you who believe! If you “help Allah,” He will help you. [Quran, 47:7] This means you should do your best to help in the cause of Allah’s Deen, for Al-Qayyoom is the One Who is in full charge of all things. Ask Him to make you of those who help the Deen by spreading the message of the Quran, teaching and helping others.

6. Think about the Day of Standing.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, You will surely stand before Allah, no screen between Him and you, no interpreter to translate for you. Then He will say, ‘Did I not bring you wealth?’ He will say, ‘Yes.’ Then He will say, ‘Did I not send you a Messenger?’ He will say, ‘Yes.’ Then he will look to his right and left and see nothing but Hell. So protect yourselves from it even with half a date (in charity), and if not then with a kind word. [Al-Bukharee] Daily remind yourself about this moment and make sure you do a deed of charity each day, even if it’s a kind word to someone!

7. Stand in the night.
The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer [Muslim]. Abu Sulaimaan Ad-Daaraanie said, Those who pray in the night enjoy when they are observing their night prayer more than what the people of pastime and fun enjoy from their pastime. If not because of the night, I would not have loved to remain in this world.  When Umar was dying, he said I do not grieve on anything of this life except the night prayer. Some people think only those who have strong emaan can pray and they are not good enough, but in fact qiyaam ul layl is the opportunity for those who feel far away from Allah to become closer to Him, so go for it and motivate others to gain extra reward!

* To read about the Beautiful Name Al-Hayy, click here.
**Read 8 productivity lessons from Surah Al-Ikhlaas here.


Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.

O Allah, Al-Qayyoom, we know that You are the One who is self-existing and sustaining all.  Bless us with humility in our worship and dealing with others and make us of those who help the needy and strive in the cause of Islam. Guide us in truly establishing the prayer in our lives, enable us to practice qiyaam ul layl, often make us remember standing before You and give us a longing to meet You and actions that bring us closer to You, ameen!

The Understand Quran Academy Team

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