Allah’s name As-Sitteer— The Coverer, the One who conceals— is not mentioned in the Quran, but occurs in a narration of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As-Sitteer is the one who covers and conceals according to His wisdom. He is the One who can conceal the biggest of sins, faults, and shortcomings whenever and for whomever He likes!
The Coverer, the One who Conceals
Sitteer comes from the root seen-taa-raa which points to two main meanings. The first main meaning is to conceal, hide, or cover. The second main meaning is to prevent or to keep away.
This root appears three times in the Quran in three derived forms. Examples of these forms are tastatiroona (“covering yourselves”), sitran (“any shelter”), and mastooran (“hidden”).
Linguistically, sitr refers to the concept of concealing something. Sitteer is the emphasised form of the root, which points out to an intense quality and quantity of the root concept. It indicates extreme concealment. As-Sitteer is the only one who can conceal a great deal for His slaves and covers them from disgrace and shields them from Hellfire.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Verily Allah Mighty and Majestic is Haleem (Forebearing), Hayee (Shy), Sitteer (Covering). He loves modesty and shyness and covering. Therefore when any of you bathe let him cover himself (i.e. from the sight of people). [Abu Dawud, An-Nasaa’ee, al-Baihaqi, Ahmed, graded as saheeh]
The forbearance and covering of Allah
Allah’s name As-Sitteer is related in meaning to Al-Haleem, the Forebearing. Imagine a humanity sinning openly against Him while highly dependent on Him, who would not even be able to move one limb in disobedience to their Lord if He did not give them the ability.
Then see how Allah ‘azza wa jall, who is completelty independent from the whole creation, is forebearing and covers His slaves out of His generosity and reluctance to disgrace them. He overlooks, covers, and conceals time and time again even though acts of disobedience rise up to Him continuously.
Yet He calls mankind to a beautiful and simple act; the repentance of the slave is between that slave and Allah ‘azza wa jall and Him only, and is concealed from the people.
How can you live by this name?
1. Keep your sins to yourself.
How many people actually boast about their bad deeds, the bad places they visited, and the bad people whose company they shared? The Messenger of Allah salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: My entire nation is safe, except al-mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: O so-and-so! Last night I did this and that. He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah has kept a secret! [Al-Bukhari] So keep your sins a secret and repent to As-Sitteer.
Be inspired by this advice of Umar ibn Al-Khattaab radiyallahu ‘anhu: Abdullah Ibn Masoud radiyallahu ‘anhu related that a man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! I have mingled with a woman in the far side of al-Medina, and I fulfilled my desire short of actually having sexual intercourse with her. So, here am I, judge me according to what you decide. Umar ibn al-Khattaab then said: Allah had kept your secret, why did not you keep your secret? [Muslim]
And Allah says: Verily those who like that (the crime) of illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. [Quran, 24:19]
2. Don’t expose others’ faults.
Apart from covering your own sins, you should also keep away from exposing the sins of others when they did not commit their sins openly. How many people are eager to seek out and expose the sins and bad deeds of others, sometimes just to make themselves look better? A beautiful formula from the sunnah is: cover the faults of a Muslim and Allah ‘azza wa jall will cover you in this life and the next!
The Prophet sallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: He, who relieves a hardship of this world for a believer, Allah will relieve (from him) a hardship of the Day of Resurrection; he who makes easy an indebted person, Allah will make it easy for him in the world and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (meaning his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the world and the Hereafter … [Muslim]
3. Call on As-Sitteer.
There’s a beautiful supplication from the sunnah in which the verb of satara is used. Part of the morning and evening adhkaar (remembrance) is that the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to supplicate:
– اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أسْـأَلُـكَ العَـفْوَ وَالعـافِـيةَ في الدُّنْـيا وَالآخِـرَة ، اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أسْـأَلُـكَ العَـفْوَ وَالعـافِـيةَ في ديني وَدُنْـيايَ وَأهْـلي وَمالـي ، اللّهُـمَّ اسْتُـرْ عـوْراتي وَآمِـنْ رَوْعاتـي ، اللّهُـمَّ احْفَظْـني مِن بَـينِ يَدَيَّ وَمِن خَلْفـي وَعَن يَمـيني وَعَن شِمـالي ، وَمِن فَوْقـي ، وَأَعـوذُ بِعَظَمَـتِكَ أَن أُغْـتالَ مِن تَحْتـي .
O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this life and the next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religious and worldly affairs, and my family and my wealth. O Allah, veil my weaknesses (Allahumma-stur ‘awraatee) and set at ease my dismay. O Allah, preserve me from the front and from behind and on my right and on my left and from above, and I take refuge with You lest I be swallowed up by the earth. [Ibn Maajah, saheeh]
Memorize this comprehensive dua’, make it part of your daily routine, and get immensely rewarded for invoking As-Sitteer and reviving a sunnah of the Prophet salallahu ’alayhi wa sallam!
O Allah, As-Sitteer, we know that You conceal and cover us continuously. Aid us in keeping our misdeeds secret and cover us from disgrace in this world and the next. Make us of those who do not expose nor seek out the faults of others and shield us against the Fire so we can enter Your paradise safely, ameen!
And Allah knows best.
The Understand Quran Academy Team