Pearl of Wisdom
'Visit each other for the sake of Allah, sit in each other's company for the sake of Allah, give for the sake of Allah and deny for the sake of Allah, keep away from the enemies of Allah and maintain relations with the friends of Allah.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ghurar al-Hikam, nos. 5392-5393
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"And he has no authority over them, but so that We may distinguish the one who believes in the hereafter from the one who is in doubt concerning it, and your Lord preserves all things" (Quran, 34:21).
"Al-Hafeez" is derived from the root word if, safeguarding something or someone. Its antithesis is sahu, forgetfulness, negligence, inattentiveness.
Women who safeguard the property of their husbands when the latter are absent are described in the Holy Quran as fhafizatin lil ghayb. A book is called afee because its contents safeguard records of actions and statements from being lost (from people's memory, etc.).
Al-Hafeez very much maintains the existence of everything that exists, who safeguards contradictory elements against overwhelming one another such as what is hot and what is cold, what is moist and what is a dry, quality which Allah has created, making them inherent in our creation as well as in that of all animals and plants.
Had He not thus safeguarded them, by neutralizing them once and by increasing the amount of what diminishes thereof another, they would not have coexisted with one another, their mixing would have been annulled, their composition would have diminished, and their ability to be composed or amalgamated would have disappeared. Al-Hafeez carries a stronger meaning than that of al-Hafiz.
Al-Hafeez has two meanings: One is the opposite of oversight or forgetfulness, and its meaning is derived from knowing. When we say that the Almighty safeguards things, we mean that He knows them in all their quantities and intricacies, and that such knowledge is not altered by diminution, oversight, negligence, or forgetfulness. The other is that al-Hafeez safeguards things against loss: He guards them, and all His characteristics and perfection are above extinction. He has also said: "Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayers, and stand up truly obedient to Allah" (Quran, 2:238), and, "... the preservation of them both does not tire Him" (Quran, 2:255).
He protects His Divine statements, i.e. the Holy Quran, hence the verse, "We have revealed the Reminder, and We are its Guardian" (Quran, 15:9), meaning Protectors against alteration, distortion, or any tampering with its sacred text, applied here particularly to the text of the Holy Quran.
Despite the greatness of his status, the Friend of Allah Abraham supplicated thus: "Lord! Grant me wisdom and join me with the righteous" (Quran, 26:83), and, "Lord! Make us both submitting to you" (Quran, 2:128).
Moses, who spoke to the Almighty, also supplicated saying, "Lord! Expand my breast for me" (Quran, 20:25). The Almighty has said the following to His Prophet and Messenger Mohammed: "... had it not been that we had already established you..." (Quran, 17:74), and, "... Allah will protect you from people" (Quran, 5:67).
He admonished the believers to pray by saying, "Lord! Do not make our hearts deviate after you have guided us aright" (Quran, 3:8).
One who contemplates on the meanings of al-Hafeez and eagerly longs for Him with all his heart is one in whose heart the love for His Lord is borne; the Lord Who protects His servant even when the latter is disobedient to Him, falling short of worshipping Him, lagging behind in adoring Him.
He reawakens his heart from its inattentiveness. It is then that Allah makes his heart like a preserved treasure of secrets, so he takes courageous stands, safeguarding his senses against committing sins, protecting his heart against spiritually harmful insinuations.