Pearl of Wisdom
'I am surprised at the one who despairs whilst he has [the ability to seek] forgiveness.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Balagha, Saying 87
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"Surely Allah bestows sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Strong One" (Quran, 51:58).
"Al-Qawiyy" and "al-Mateen" are two of Allah's Attributes and are mentioned in such an order. They share the same basic meaning.
Linguistically, "al-Qawiyy" is derived from quwwa, strength, power, might, ability, etc. It is in lexicons indicative of strength versus weakness. Strength in this sense describes a complete and perfect might. Since He is very Strong, Allah has the most perfect and absolute might and perfection; He has said, "... surely your Lord is the Strong, the Mighty" (Quran, 11:66). "Al-Qawiyy" means: the One Whose strength is unlimited and before Whom the strength of His foe dwarves, and so does the greatness of anyone held as great.
Allah has granted the angels a mighty power whereby one angel, for example, can uproot a mountain or turn cities upside down. Yet such an angel, or his like, fears Allah and His Might, shakes in awe for fear of His Greatness. Al-Qawiyy is the One Whose Might and Greatness are perfect: He subdues and is not subdued; He helps and is not helped; His Might is superior to the might of anyone else. It is also said that He never suffers any weakness in Himself, in His qualities, or in His actions, and His strength is indicative of His complete Might. There are many Quranic verses that describe Allah as the Strong One; among them are the following,
O had only those who are unjust seen when they witness the chastisement that power is wholly Allah's, and that Allah is severe in requiting (evil)! (2:165) And wherefore did you not say, when you entered your garden: "It is as Allah has pleased; there is no power save in Allah"? (18:39) As regarding `Ad , they were unjustly proud in the land, and they said: "Who is mightier than we are?" Did they not see that Allah Who created them is mightier than them, and that they denied Our signs? (41:15)
When we discern the previously quoted glorious verses, we will find the Attribute "al-Qawiyy" existing in 8:52 and 40:22 as the One Who is severe in requiting evil. Seven times has the Attribute "al- Qawiyy" been combined with the Attribute "al-`Azeez"; strength is not suited except for those who are honourable. Might is accompanied by severity.
The root word, matana, connotes solidness with expansion and extension. It may be applied to a solid rock, or to a distance traversed. Al-Mateen is al-Qawiyy, the Strong One, Who can do whatever He pleases, Who does not need an army to enforce His authority.
He needs no help, nor supporters, nor assistants. Rest your hope on none besides Him. Al-Mateen is the One Whose Might is perfect; nothing in the heavens nor on earth can stand in His way. He is Allah Who affects His will, Whose Might is eternal; He affects everything yet nothing can affect Him.