Pearl of Wisdom
describing the prophets (AS), said, 'They were people who were subject to oppression, whom Allah had tried with hunger, afflicted with difficulty, tested with fear, and shaken with troubles. If Allah had wished to open for His prophets treasures of gold, mines of pure gold and grounds of gardens wherever He sent them ... He would have done so, but if He did, tests would be invalid, and reward would be inapplicable. Rather, Allah the Glorified, made His prophets strong in their determination, and weak in their appearance as seen from the eyes, with contentment that fills the hearts and eyes with richness, and with poverty that pains the eyes and ears.?
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 192
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"... and Allah straitens and amplifies and you shall be returned to Him" (Quran, 2:245).
Linguistically, qabd, root verb of "al-Qabid," means: to take, hold, seize, grip, catch, handle, and the like. It is the holding of something with the hand such as a sword's handle, etc.
It is meant as a way to forcefully take control of something or someone. Allah Almighty has said the following in this sense: "... and Allah straitens and amplifies..." (Quran, 2:245), meaning He straitens, withholds, His sustenance of some while amplifying it for others.
"Al-Qabid" means: "the One Who takes hold of the souls by subduing them, the spirits by effecting justice in their regard, the means of sustenance by His wisdom, and the hearts by making them fear His Glory."
Al-Qabid is the One Who causes the souls to be taken away from their bodies, their temporary homes, at the time of death. The angel who takes the souls away (i.e. the qabid) is called in Islam "Israel."
Al-Qabid is the One Who takes hold of the hearts, who controls them, who isolates them through their lack of knowledge, through their own oversights. He takes hold of some hearts, so He unveils to them His Greatness and Glory. He pleases other hearts through the means whereby He gets closer to them out of His own Kindness, Munificence, and Beauty. Al-Qabid is the One Who unveils His Glory to you, so He protects you; He is the One Who makes you dread being distanced from Him.
Al-Qabid is the One Who controls the entire cosmos; in the following verse, He makes a reference to His control over the earth: "... and the whole earth shall be in His grip on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens rolled up in His right hand" (Quran, 39:67).
The Almighty has neither a right nor a left hand; He has no hands at all; this is only a figure of speech denoting His total control over the heavens and the earth and everything in them. The expansion of the earth is done by Him during the life of this world; says He, "Have We not made the earth an even expanse?" (Quran, 78:6) meaning spread like a carpet.
On the Day of Judgment, the earth shall also be there, but it will look quite different from its present appearance...; everything about how it will look and what will happen above and underneath it is detailed in books of hadith, in traditions that will, God willing, see the light for the first time in English..., but let us not digress here by borrowing from another book of mine soon, Insha-Allah, to be written!
Al-Qabid receives the knowledge of and appreciates acts of charity; to be charitable is to be a true servant of His, a blessed one. He says, "... Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms" (Quran, 9:104).
He straitens the hearts, that is, places heavy burdens on them, burdens of woes and worries, of fears or of aspiration, and He also eases them.