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 | Part LVI | Part LVII | Part LVIII | Part LVIII
“He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer (al-Muhaymin), the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.” (Qur’an, 59:23)
The last three verses of Surat al-Hashr (Qur’an Chapter 59) have been my favorite verses to recite for a while because they are the only consecutive verses in the Qur’an that list some of Allah’s Names one after the other. Throughout this series, we have covered all of the Names in these verses except one: al-Muhaymin (the Overseer). Insha’Allah (God willing) today’s discussion will be on this beautiful Name of Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). If you can, try to memorize verses 22-24 of Surat al-Hashr and see how amazing it is to recite these Names of Allah (swt) while understanding them and connecting to Allah!
The Overseeing Guardian
I have translated this Name as the Overseeing Guardian, but insha’Allah understanding the root will give us a more holistic understanding.
Al-Muhaymin comes from the root h-m-n (ه-م-ن) (although there is a longer discussion on its root being a-m-n, I will not go into it here). The root can be used in the context of a bird that haymana over its chicks, meaning it extended its wing over them, protecting them. If a soldier haymana over a city, it means he took control of it and watches over it. In modern Arabic, we say “al-haymana,” meaning hegemony1 . Allah (swt) also describes the Qur’an as muhaymin, meaning that it will dominate over all the other books.
So haymana is complete control, and when it comes to Allah (swt), one that is accompanied with protection. If you mess up at work, and someone tells you, “Everything is going to be ok;” it is not always reassuring. The person might mean well, but you know that they have no power over the situation, so their reassurance does not really help. But if your boss tells you, “Don’t worry about it;” then you are at peace. Why? Because you know that he is the one with ultimate control over the situation. If he tells you, “Don’t worry about it,” you know you don’t have to worry. You know you can be at ease.
Allah (swt) is al-Muhaymin. He is the One in total control who protects.
Worry and the Protective Wing
Connecting to this Name is the ultimate antidote to excessive worrying and stress. We all worry a little: about the future, about things that we want, or about our fate. But this Name is a call to internal calm because we know Allah (swt) is in control. He is al-Muhaymin.
As the Arabic word indicates, when a hen covers her chicks with her wings, that is haymana. That is the complete protection and comfort that Allah (swt) gives us. And just like the chicks feel protected and at peace because of the knowledge of this complete control and protection, our knowledge of al-Muhaymin should afford us even more peace.
Connecting to al-Muhaymin
1- Supervise, take control over and protect your inner state
Al-Ghazali counsels: “Every servant who watches over his heart until he supervises its depths and its secrets, and also takes possession of reforming his inner states and attributes, and undertakes to protect it continuously according to the requirements of reform, will then be ‘guardian’ in relation to his heart.”
2- Memorize these verses from Surat al-Hashr
“He is Allah , other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer [al-Muhaymin], the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Qur’an, 59:22-24)
- dominance, esp. of one over a group [↩]