Allah calls Himself Al-Hayy— The Ever-Living— on five occasions in the Quran. Al-Hayy is the One who is everlasting and undying, the One from whom all life arises. Al-Hayy is the One who was, is, and will always be alive!

The Everlasting, The Living

Hayy comes from the root haa-yaa-yaa, which points to four main meanings. The first meaning is to live. The second main meaning is to become apparent or distinct. The third is to revive, vitalize and call into being and the fourth main meaning is to be sound, or whole.
This root appears 184 times in the Quran in 12 derived forms. Examples of these forms are yuhyee (“grants life”), hayyan (“alive”) and al hayaatu (” the life”).
Al-Hayy is the One who has a continuous life with no beginning or end. His Life and all His Attributes are perfect. His life is self-sustaining and has no external source, whereas our lives have been granted to us by the Creator. Al-Hayy is the One who calls all life into being and He is the source to which life will return!
Al-Hayy Himself says: . . 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] And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die..[Quran, 25:58] He is the Ever-Living; there is no deity except Him, so call upon Him, [being] sincere to Him in religion. [Quran, 40:65]

The Perfect Life

Al-Hayy is most often combined with the Name Al-Qayyoom, the Sustainer. This is a beautiful combination of the perfection of Allah’s Attributes and His Actions. Al-Hayy means the One who possesses the perfect living and so all His attributes are perfect: His hearing, His sight, His Beauty etc. Man’s life is imperfect from all sides: our hearing, sight, speech and actions are all imperfect. All  the attributes of Allah are perfect, because any defiency in attributes would come from weakness of life and His life is perfect!

How Can You Live By This Name?

1. Rely upon the Ever-Living.  And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die, and exalt with His praise… [Quran, 25:58] Each source of our problems and distress lies in this world, whether it is money, family etc and these will all perish one day. This ayah gives us a beautiful reflection: while you put your trust in Allah, really realize how great the One is in who you trust. Use your imagination, go back in time for 100 years, 1000 years, a million or a billion years and Allah was alive. In the same way think about the future, so feel the glory that belongs to Him.

2. Motivate yourself to do good. The ayah continues: And sufficient is He to be, with the sins of His servants, Acquainted. [Quran, 25:58] As you leave all your matters to Al-Hayy, realizing His greatness and express this awareness by tasbeeh (saying subhanallah) coming from your lips, also take action with your limbs. Let Al-Hayy motivate you to do good deeds. Whereas people have not been with you all of your life, being able to see and hear all your bad deeds, Al-Hayy was, is and will be there with His perfect hearing and seeing which are part of His perfect life!

3. Recite Ayatul Kursi after each prayer and before going to sleep. In this greatest ayah of the Quran the Name Al-Hayy is mentioned and many virtues are narrated about ayatul Kursi. In each sentence one or two attributes of Allah are mentioned: . everytime you recite this ayah reflect on the Attributes of Allah and how they all emerge from His perfect Life: He is Al-Hayy!

4. Ask Al-Hayy. When the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was faced with a serious difficulty, he would say: Yaa Hayyu, Yaa Qayyum (O Ever-Living One, O Self-Existing One)!  By Your mercy I seek help  
سْتَغِيْث أَ بِرَحْمَتِكَ قَيُّوْمُ يَا حَيُّ يَا  [Sunan At-Tirmidhee]

5. Be comforted by Al-Hayy. 
Be comforted by Al-Hayy and turn to Him only when you lose things around you and know that He will always be there. When you are treated unjustly and see injustice around you, do your best to help according to the laws of Al-Hayy but also know that the injustice of every single person will be a cause of failure in the Hereafter. So guard for injustice from your own hands as well! 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]

6. Turn to Al-Hayy for daily-life guidance. 
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam once mentioned to Faatimah radiyallaahu ‘anha to recite the following supplication morning and evening: Yaa Hayyu yaa qayyoom bi-rahmatika astagheeth, aslih lee shaa-nee kullahu, wa laa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata ‘ayn – O Ever-Living One, O Self-Existing One, I seek assistance through the means of your mercy, correct for me all my affairs and do not entrust me to my nafs (myself) for the moment of a blink of an eye [An-Nasa’i] If Al-Hayy would even leave you to yourself for a split-second, you would perish!

Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.

O Allah, Al-Hayy, we know that You are the One who is everlasting and perfect alive. Bless us with reliance on You, make us realize Your Perfection of Life and so of all Your attributes and guide us to live by them. Make our life a source of good and give us a good end of life, inspire us to turn to You only and grant to us eternal life in the Gardens of Jannatul Firdaws, ameen! 

The Understand Quran Academy Team

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