Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII |Part XXIX| Part XXX |Part XXXI | Part XXXII | Part XXXIII | Part XXXIV | Part XXXV | Part XXXVI |Part XXXVII | Part XXXVIII | Part XXXIX | Part XL|Part XLI|Part XLII | Part XLIII | Part XLIV | Part XLV | Part XLVI | Part XLVII | Part XLVIII | Part XLIX | Part L | Part LI | Part LII | Part LIII | Part LIV | Part LV
I knew a wonderful woman who was in her mid-thirties. She was not married, and absolutely loved children; she also loved Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) with a passion. I never heard her complain, but only saw her doing good. I met her the day she completed her memorization of the Qur’an. Shortly after, I started memorizing with her, and she corrected my tajweed (pronunciation). I then left to complete my studies, and we kept in touch via WhatsApp. She started teaching Qur’an at the mosque near her house, then shortly after, got engaged and then married. She now has two children.
What some might have seen as a ‘delay’ in her marriage was a delay from the Most High. She was able to do what would have been infinitely more difficult had she been married with kids, and she is now a memorizer and teacher of Qur’an, which she will also be able to teach her children. In whatever situation Allah put her, she made the best of it.
Another person I know is married, but she and her husband are undergoing treatment as they cannot have children. It is a painful thing to see as they both want kids so much, but the beautiful thing is that this hardship has brought them so much closer together. I can feel her love for her husband radiate in how she speaks about him, and their mutual support for one another. They have been married for quite a few years now, and while I have seen other people experience tension in their marriages or even boredom, with this friend, I have only seen their love and closeness increasing.
Even in this delay, beauty is apparent. The couple’s relationship with one another would not have been as strong without this test, and they are both closer to Allah (swt) as a result. Whether they eventually have kids or not – and may Allah bless them with righteous healthy children – they gained something in their relationship that makes them better spouses and will make them better parents, insha’Allah (God willing).
At other times, something might come to us when we feel we are not ready, and we wish it would be delayed! But it comes to us at the time that we need to step it up. Allah (swt) brings it forward for a reason: we can handle it.
That is Allah, al-Muqaddim al-Mu’akhir; He who brings forward and He who delays. This Name appears in the following supplication of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him):
اللهم اغفر لي ما قدمت وما أخرت، وما أسررت وما أعلنت، وما أنت أعلم به مني، أنت المقدم وأنت المؤخر، لا إله إلا أنت
“O Allah! Forgive my past and future sins and whatever I have done in secret, and whatever I have done in public, and what You are more knowledgeable of than I. You are The One Who brings forward and Who delays, there is no deity worthy of worship but You”. (Muslim)
I was taught another beautiful du`a’ (supplication) attributed to the Prophet ﷺ:
“O Allah, make me content with Your decree, so that I may not love to hasten what You have delayed, or delay what You have hastened.” (Tabarani)
Sheikh Muhammad an-Najdi made a beautiful point about the Prophet Joseph `alayhi salaam (peace be upon him) when it comes to ‘delays’. When Joseph (as) was in jail, he was considered the best person even by those who shared his cell. They said to him, “Indeed, we see you to be of those who do good,” (Qur’an, 12:36). Yet even though he was better than them, he remained in jail for longer; his release was ‘delayed’. The first cellmate was released and went on to become a servant; the second was executed. When Joseph (as) was finally released many years later, he became a Minister and was reunited with his family.
So if you ever feel that your dreams are delayed, and everyone else seems to be moving forward, just remember the example of Joseph (as). Stay true to Allah (swt) and to yourself and remember that “Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of good,” (Qur’an 9:120). Indeed, He is al-Muqaddim, al-Mu’akhir; the One who brings forward and the One who delays.
The Promoter, the Delayer
The root for al-Muqaddim is q-d-m (ق-د-م) which can mean to precede and also to put at the front. The word for ‘foot’ in Arabic is ‘qadam’, as our feet move forward when we walk. Al-Mu’akhir comes from the root a-kh-r (أ-خ-ر), which has the opposite meaning: to postpone or to go back.
Thus al-Ghazali says about these Names that Allah (swt) is “the one who brings close and who pushes away, and whomever He brings close He promotes, while those He pushes away He banishes.” Thus those who strive to come close to God, He brings them forward before anyone else.
Moreover, Sheikh Ratib an-Nabulsi teaches that Allah (swt) might give people things in terms of wealth or intelligence whereby it appears that they are promoted. Most of us have been given something, but these things should not delude us into thinking that we have been preferred because of them. Rather, look to your heart and actions.
Connecting to these Names:
- Trust in Allah’s timing and do the best where you are
We do not know what is in the unseen world, and thus we do not know the things that will be delayed and the things that will be hastened. The key is to trust in Allah’s timing, and make the best of wherever you are put, as in the first two examples presented in this article. However, knowing these Names of Allah (swt) should not cause us to be lazy; sometimes delays may simply occur because we are not working hard, so we have to strike a balance between action and trust in Allah (swt).
- Remember that Allah (swt) has given all of us good, and Allah (swt) brings forward those who do good
If someone seems to be promoted because of their wealth or another because of his intelligence, remember that Allah (swt) has given each of us something. We should be grateful for and appreciate His gifts, and we should remember, as Ghazali says, that truly “the one promoted with respect to God, Most High, is the one brought close to Him [muqarrab].” As the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever is slowed by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.” (Muslim)
- Bring forward the good and delay the bad
Sheikh Abdulrazzaq al-Badr said that one of the fruits of knowing Allah’s attributes of bringing forward and delaying is that we should strive to ‘bring forward’ our good deeds, meaning hasten to them, and that we should at the very least put off something bad, with the aim to forgo doing it entirely.