Pearl of Wisdom
Concern yourself with your companion [on the journey] over the way itself, and with your neighbour before [purchasing] your house.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Balagha, Letter 31
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"or do they have gods who can defend them against us?." (Quran 21:43)
Al-Mani` is one of Allah's Attributes and is derived from man`, the opposite of giving or granting. It also means: to protect, to stop one thing from harming another or one group of people from annihilating another.
It is used to describe the defense of a house, a fortified fortress, etc, against an enemy. It means: to protect and support.
It means He has the power to stop the causes of annihilation or deficiency in both creeds and bodies. He wards off evil to protect and safeguard; He stops giving to whomsoever He pleases in order to try or to protect them. He gives life to whomsoever He loves or does not love, but He does not grant the bliss of the hereafter except to those whom He loves.
Al-Mani` protects and supports those who obey Him, and He stops some of His servants from doing what He does not want them to do while giving them what they want. He wards off the causes of perdition and diminution in matters related to creeds and nations due to what He creates of causes prepared for their preservation.
Obstruction from the causes of annihilation, and the preservation of what is guarded against extinction, are the objectives of man` and are the ultimate goal. If man`, prohibition, is needed for the purpose of preservation, and the latter is not needed for the sake of the first, then every protector defends and protects. Not everyone who prohibits protects except that he prohibits the causes of annihilation and diminution.
Al-Mani` prohibits affliction from reaching His friends, or the complete abstention from giving to whomsoever He pleases. If He prohibits affliction from reaching His friends, this is due to His beautiful Grace, and if He stops giving to them, it will still be a great favor from Him.
Allah grants the pleasures of the life in this world to those whom He loves and to those whom He does not, but He does not protect the heart of a servant of His except when the latter is one of His close friends.
Al-Mani` wards off the causes of annihilation and diminution of creed and body by creating the means which protect it against annihilation and diminution. So, He creates some causes and prohibits others; He gives everything what serves its interests and prohibits what causes its damage. He makes some wealthy by giving them, and He stops giving to whomsoever He pleases to try them by affliction. He enriches and impoverishes; He makes some happy and some miserable; He grants some and withholds from others; He grants some and deprives others; so, He is both al-Mu`ti, the Giver, and al-Mani`, the One Who withholds. And He withholds giving from whomsoever He pleases, and His withholding may contain giving in disguise.
He may withhold giving one of His servants’ abundant wealth and instead give him accomplishments and beauty. He may deprive one of His servants from enjoying good health and make him pleased with His decree. Al-Mani` is also al-Mut'i: for within the withholding there may be giving, and within the giving there may be withholding.
The Messenger of Allah used to say the following after finishing each of the prescribed daily prayers: "There is no god but Allah, the One and only God; His is the Kingdom; His is the Praise, and He can do everything. Lord! None can prohibit what you grant, nor can anyone grant what you withhold, and none is capable of stopping the implementation of your will."