Purification Spiritual Purification With the Divine

Al Quddus – Absolutely Pure

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lmilliron/5318563774/in/photostream/Originally published in February 2009

Bismillah (In the Name of God)


The One who is Very Pure, Absolutely Pure, He is far and above anything that does not befit Him.

Al Quddos is from the root qaaf-daal-seen (ق د س), Al-Quddos has two meanings linguistically. It is on the structure of fu`ool, a form of mubalagah/intensification.

1. First meaning of Qaf-daal-seen (ق د س), quds, is taharah (cleanliness). The verb qadasa is from the same root and it is used for the movement of a bucket. Why is it called qadasa? Because from the bucket that has water, you will obtain purity and cleanliness. Taqdees (تقديس) means taTheer (تطهير), to purify and wash. taTheer is the highest form of cleanliness. There are three levels of cleanliness (as shown in the du`a’, supplication):

‘O Allah, distance me from my sins just as You have distanced The East from The West, O Allah, purify me of my sins as a white robe is purified of filth, O Allah, cleanse me of my sins with snow, water, and ice.’

  • Distancing (O Allah, distance me and my sins as between the east and west) Moving far away from dirt and deficiencies.
  • Removing dirt/filth (purify me of my sins as a white robe is purified of filth) To remove the dirt, and make the place clear and empty of anything that is not clean. No naqs (fault) remains.
  • Washing/Cleansing (cleanse me of my sins with snow, water, and ice) What’s the purpose of washing at the end? So that there is absolutely nothing that remains that is impure. So at the end you have something pure and clean.

In Suratul Baqarah, ayah (verse) 30, the angels said to Allah azza wa jal   وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ (Qur’an 2:30). According to Zujaaj, this ayah means: ‘nuTahiru anfusana lak, we purify ourselves for You’. What does that mean? There is no feeling of shirk (associating others with God) in our hearts for You, no bad thought about You. This is why Baitul Maqdis (in Jerusalem) is Baitul MuTahhar: when you go there, your sins are removed. According to Farra’, another linguist, Ardhul Muqaddasah (Palestine) means Ardhul Taahirah, land that is pure and clean. Similarly, Rooh al Quddus is another name for Angel Jibreel: he was made from purity and cleanliness. Also because he brings down the Quddus from Allah, the Qur’an, and through the Qur’an we cleanse ourselves, our character, our actions, and our intentions.

2. The second meaning of this root is barakah, a lot of goodness. Ardhul Muqaddasah (The Land that is Pure) also means Ardhul Mubaarakah (The Land that is Blessed). Allah says in the first ayah of Suratul Israa: إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed. So with this meaning, Al Quddoos means: The One who is Blessed, the One who is the Source of All Good, The One with a lot of Khayr. This root means to be or go far away. So Allah ta`ala (most High) is far from any impurity or imperfection.

strong>Proof for this Name

The root Qaf-daal-seen (not the Name, just the root) appears 10 times in the Qur’an: for Allah azza wa jal, for angel Jibreel and for ardhal muqaddasah. The Name Al Quddus appears twice in the Qur’an. (Hashr :23, Jumu’ah: 1)

Statements of the Scholars concerning the Name Al Quddoos

  • Ibnul Qayyim states: Al Quddus means the One who is Free from and Above any sharr (evil), any naqs (deficieny) and any ‘ayb (fault). In other words, He is High Above what does not befit Him. He is THE Pure One. He doesn’t have any deficiency or fault.
  • Ibn Katheer states: Al Quddus means the One free from any naqa’is (deficiencies). He also says Al Quddoos refers to the One who is attributed with the attributes of Perfection, for example: the attribute of Knowledge and of Creation.
  • Al Bayhaqi states: Al Quddus is the One who is Taahir (Pure), and Uluww (High). The One who is Pure from having any children or partners.

To summarize: He is the One who is far from any imperfection, error, fault, and shortcoming and far from everything that is derogatory.

When we look at Allah ta`ala as Al Quddus, what does it entail?

  • He is Free from the fault of shirk, or having any shareek. He is Perfect. Who needs a partner? The one who needs help and cannot manage himself. Allah says in the Qur’an: Allahu laa ilaha ila Huwa—there is no one but Him.
  • He is Free from having any spouse or child.
  • He is Free from death. He does not die, He does not sleep. The creation sleeps for energy and due to tiredness and all of the creation will die. وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ—and place your trust in the One who is Ever-Living and does not die, (Qur’an 25:58)  كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ—Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will abide forever, (Qur’an 55:26-27). Allah is free from the fault of sleep, of dying and of perishing. A hadeeth (narration) in Saheeh Muslim states: inAllaha laa yanaamu: indeed Allah does not sleep; wa la yanbagi lahu an yanaam: and it does not befit Him that He sleeps. In Ayatul Kursi it states: sleep nor slumber overtakes Him. So if He is Al Quddus, He does not get tired, He does not need to sleep, He does not need to die: He is free from these faults.
  • He is Free from committing dhulm (injustice). When do people commit dhulm? When they are overcome by their desires and wishes. Allah is Quddus, even if people do dhulm to Him, He does not do dhulm on people. In a hadeeth qudsi in Saheeh Muslim (one of the 40 hadeeth of Nawawi), Allah says: ‘ya ebaadi, innee haramatu dhulmu alaa nafsee, wa ja’latahu baynakum muharraman, falaa tudhaalimoo—O My servants, I have made dhulm haraam upon Myself, and I have made it haraam for you all, so do not commit dhulm‘. He says in Suratun Nisaa ayah 40,  إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ —‘Allah does not wrong a person even to the amount of an atom’s weight’;  وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا —‘and if there is a good deed, He multiplies it’ (He does so much good, so much ihsaan, because He is Al Quddoos, if there is one small good deed, He multiplies it); وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا —‘and He gives from Himself a great reward.’
  • He is free from lying. He is so Pure, He does not lie, or say anything that is untrue. In Suratun Nisaa ayah 87, Allah says: وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثًا —‘and who is truer than Allah in narration?’ Allah also says: وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ قِيلًا —‘this is a promise on Allah that is true, and who is more truthful than Allah in speech?’ (Qur’an 4:122)
  • He is Free from dhalaal (error) or nisyaan (forgetfulness). He does not forget or make a mistake. Those who have faults and are imperfect forget and make mistakes. What is the proof? When Fir’awn asked Musa `alayhi salaam (peace be upon him) about the previous nations in surah Taha, he said: لَا يَضِلُّ رَبِّي وَلَا يَنْسَى, My Rabb does not make a mistake and He does not forget. (Qur’an 20:52)
  • He is Free from faqr (poverty) and bukhl (stinginess). What is the proof? Allah says in Surah Ma’idah ayah 64, وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ —’The jews say Allah’s Hands are tied (ie, bukhl)’; but Allah responds:  بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ, —’rather His Hands are Spread’;  يُنْفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ, —’He spends however He wills.’ Another proof is the statement that repeats many times in the Qur’an: ‘lahu Mulk as samawaati wal ardh—for Him is the Sovereignty of the heavens and earth.’ So how can the One who owns the heavens and the earth be poor? In a hadeeth Qudsi in Saheeh Muslim, Allah says: ‘O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns gather together on a sector of land and all ask of Me and if I were to give everyone of them what they asked, that will not in any way decrease what I have anymore than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it.’ Another hadeeth in Bukhari states: ‘yadullahi mal’a’—’Allah’s Hands are Full, Allah spends during the night and day, but it does not reduce His Wealth.’ He is Al Quddus, He is free from the fault of being poor or being stingy.
  • He is Free from having a shabeeh (one who is similar to Him). Allah is free from this imperfection. None is like Him, in any way. Allah says in surah Maryam: هَلْ تَعْلَمُ لَهُ سَمِيًّا—’Do you know of any who is similar to Him?’ (Qur’an 19:65)  لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ —’there is nothing like unto Him.’ (Qur’an 42:11) وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ —’And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him,’ (Qur’an 112:4).

If Allah is Al Quddoos, What do we do?

This is a quality we should try and emulate. How? If Allah is the Pure, and His Kalaam (speech) is Pure, how should our hearts be? Dirty? Filthy? Should we be unclean in our body, in our actions, in our intentions, in our `aqidah (creed)? If Allah is Al Quddoos and everything that comes from His is Pure, the first requirement is:

  1. Clean `Aqeedah: We must have the right tawhid (belief in the Oneness of God) and the right eman (faith). In a hadeeth in Bukhari, Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu (may God be pleased with him) narrates that someone asked the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) which action is the best. And he replied: emaan billahi wa rasoolihi—to have emaan in Allah and His Messenger. The worst sin is ascribing a partner to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). In a hadeeth Qudsi in Bukhari, Allah ta`ala says: ‘The son of Adam denied Me, and he has no right to do so. And he has insulted Me, and he has no right to do so. And as for his right of denying Me, it is his saying that Allah will not resurrect me. As for his insulting Me, it is his saying that Allah has taken to Himself a son, while I am the One, the Everlasting.’
  2. Clean hearts: Allah looks at our hearts, intentions and actions. “Verily, Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your hearts and to your deeds,” (Muslim). Be clean from shirk, from nifaaq (hypocrisy), from lies, from jealousy and all such vices. Eman in Allah is clean, and He will only help the one who is clean. It can only be in a qalb (heart) that is saleem, sound and good.
  3. Clean in our actions: first we should have physical taharah, we should clean ourselves. Indeed Allah is Beautiful and Loves beauty (Muslim). We should do taharah of our bodies so that we are fit to do ibadah (worship), because if we are not clean we cannot pray, read Qur’an or other deeds. Then we have to perform salah (prayer) so that we clean ourselves from the past sins. Proof? The Prophet ﷺ asked the sahaba (his companions), if someone bathes in a river outside of his house five times a day, will there be any impurity left on him? (Muslim) This is the example of salah. Salah also prevents us from future sins. Allah says: إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ —indeed the salah prevents from the indecency and evil, (Qur’an 29:45). Also we should give zakaah (alms). In giving zakaah and giving sadaqah (charity) for the sake of Allah ta`ala, Allah is Al Quddus, He deserves that which is good. When the sahaba would give sadaqah, it was the best sadaqah they could give. A’ishah radi Allahu anha would clean the sadaqah she gave and perfume it, and she would say: ‘It goes in the Hand of Allah before it goes in the hand of the one who is asking.’ Allah deserves those actions that are pure. Our actions and intentions should be good. In a hadith in Sahih Muslim we learn: Indeed Allah is Pure (at Tayyib) and He only accepts that which is pure.

Du`a’ with this Name

After giving the salaam (finishing prayer) he would supplicate three times ‘subhaanal malikil Quddus—How perfect The King, The Holy One.’ On the third time he would raise his voice, elongate it and add, ‘rabb al malaa’ikati war rooh—Lord of the angels and the rooh (i.e. Jibraa’eel).’

Suboohun Quddusun rabb ul malaa’ikati war rooh’: said in ruku` (bowing) and sajdah (prostration). Subooh: the One who is Praised a lot; Quddus: the One who is very Pure; Rabb ul malaa’ikati war rooh: Lord of the angels and of Jibril. Why do we say this in ruku` and sajdah? It is humility: you acknowledge Allah’s Purity and that He is Rabb, and it reminds you how small we are.

We can also make du`a’ to Allah with the Name Al Quddus when you want barakah in your time and energy. Remember the second meaning of Al Quddus is Al Mubaarak. Also we can make du`a’ with this Name when you want to develop sincerity and call upon the Pure to purify your intentions.

The Difference Between Al Quddus and As Salam

The difference is very slight and both Names emphasize each other. Al Quddus means that Allah is free from any defects in the past and in the present, and when we say He is As Salaam, His attribute of Perfection is eternal; meaning He is forever Perfect. Quddus refers to past and present, and Salaam refers to future. Both of these Names negate any imperfection and when imperfection is continually negated, that only leaves perfection.

Allahu ta`ala a`lam (God Most High knows best).

About the author



Amatullah is a student of the Qur’an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta’leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur’an, Tajweed (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and will be completing a Masters program in 2014. Her experiences include working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement, and accessibility for people with disabilities.


  • Thanks for this, especially the difference between As-salaam and Al-Qudoos. Out of curiosity, is there any arabic sentence which illustrates this difference between the meaning of these two words, i.e. showing that quddos is present and salaam is future tense?

  • so much detail. wow. needed this for my scripture homework and there is so much in formation on this site!! well done.

  • Jazakillah khair for the very informative post. Before this, I thought “quddus” is simply to be rendered as “holy.” That may be influenced by Jews and Christians, who seem to render Hebrew terms with the Q-D-S root as “holy” (for instance, “holy spirit” is the usual translation of the Hebrew “ruah kodesh,” which is in turn related to the Arabic “ruh quddus”).

    Were you trying to stay away from this commonplace translation of “quddus” to “holy”? Thank you on enlightening us on these other meanings!

  • Masha Allah,Subhan Allah…very good in depth understanding of Al- Quddus,..Allah hu Akber…may Allah give u more I’lm of his greatness..
    jazak Allah

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