Al Jabbaar – The Compellor
There are many Names of Allah azza wa jal that are authentic, yet are not widely known. One of them, and also One of my personal favorites, is Al Jabbaar – The Compellor.
The Compeller, The Restorer. It is on the structure of fa’aal, a structure of mubaalagah/intensification. Jaabir is one who compels or restores, but Jabbaar is the Compeller, the complete Restorer.
Jabbaar is from the root: jeem ba ra or jabr (ج ب ر or جبر), and this root has several meanings:
a) The first meaning is to pressurize, to compel and force someone to do something. From this, it is understood to mean to tyrannize someone and be tyrannical. We learn from the Qur’an that: وَإِذَا بَطَشْتُم بَطَشْتُمْ جَبَّارِينَ : ‘and when you attack, you oppress people’ (26:130). Similarly in surah Maryam, Esa alayhi salaam says: وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا : ‘and He (Allah) has not made me an oppressive person.’ (19:32)
b) Secondly, Jabr also means to be strong, tall and great. ‘Nakhlatun Jabbaarah’ is used for a tall date palm tree that is very strong and gives a lot of fruit. Also in the Qur’an, when Bani Isra’eel were told to enter the city of Jerusalem they said: إِنَّ فِيهَا قَوْمًا جَبَّارِينَ, ‘indeed in there are a people who are very strong and powerful’ (5:22). The second meaning is to be powerful, to be strong, huge and tall. Another meaning is kibriyaa’ which means greatness and Jabaroot is also used for Allah ta’ala.
c) The third meaning of Jabr is to repair the broken. Furthermore, when something is incomplete and you complete it, that is called jabr. Also, when there is a deficiency and you make up for it that is called jabr. The third meaning is to restore, to fix, to do islaah (reformation) of something. Cool note: from the same root is algebra, you ‘fix’ the equation. The word ‘Jabeerah’ is used for a splint (to help broken bones).
Proof for this Name
The word ‘Jabbaar’ appears 10 times in the Qur’an, but only once for Allah ta’ala. So nine times it is used for people who are strong, oppressive, commit dhulm (injustice), who compel and force other. The last time it is used in the Qur’an in Suratul Hashr (verse 23) is for Allah ta’ala.
If Allah is Jabbaar, what does it mean?
a) According to al Khattaabi, it means: He is the One who forces His creation upon what He commands and upon what He has forbidden. In other words, whatever Allah wills, His will is executed. The first meaning of Jabbaar is Compeller, so whatever He wills is what happens. He is the One who implements His will.
b) Secondly, it means ‘al ‘Aali fawqa khalqihi’, the One who is Exalted, High above His creation‘. In other words, He is the Greatest One. We said ‘nakhlatun jabbaarah’ is the tallest tree in the orchard. Allaah ta’ala being al-Jabbaar is the Greatest and there is no one else who is greater than Him. He is the One who is Qawwiy, A’dheem (The Most Strong, The Most Great). He is the One who has ‘tawl’: He owns a lot and can give a lot. The Supreme Power and Authority belongs to Allah ta’ala.
c) Thirdly, Jabbaar means ‘Al Muslih, the One who Reforms, the One who fixes the situation for His creation‘. When we find our resources to be incomplete, Allah ta’ala makes them complete. When we are unable to reach our goals, Allah ta’ala assists us. He is the One who amends the affairs of His creation. It means if a slave is unable to reach His goal, Al Jabbaar will enable Him and provide Him with the sources to reach this goal.
Difference when Jabbaar is used for Allah ta’ala and for people
When Jabbaar is used for people, it is in a negative sense, because they have no right to be tyrannical and oppress other people. If Jabbaar is used for humans as one who restores, it is negative again because they use their oppressive nature to fix things. Example: a government moving families out of their old homes, they want to fix things but it is oppression in a way. When Allah ta’ala fixes things, it is not in an oppressive nature, it is in a positive sense. Jabr does not befit or suit human beings, they are supposed to be ‘abd.
If Allah is Al Jabbaar, what are we supposed to do?
1) We must know that HE is Al Jabbaar, and we cannot imitate Him. Allah is Ar Rahman and we should have rahmah, but because Allah is Al Jabbaar does not mean we become jabbaar. Why? Because He has told us to not be Jabbaar, He doesn’t like the arrogant.
From Surah Ibrahim we learn: وَاسْتَفْتَحُواْ وَخَابَ كُلُّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ : when the prophets and believers asked for victory, ‘every oppressive, every rebellious, every stubborn opposer of the Prophet was lost’ (14:15). So if we become jabbaar on the earth, we are the ones who are going to lose.
Similarly, in surah Ghaafir verse 35, Allah says: كَذَلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ قَلْبِ مُتَكَبِّرٍ جَبَّارٍ: ‘Allah puts a seal on the hearts of every arrogant and jabbaar person’. So whoever is jabbaar, it leads to their heart being sealed; a person becomes so arrogant and oppressive that nothing comes in to his heart or goes out.
Also from a hadeeth in Saheeh Bukhari, we learn that hellfire is for the jabbaareen, those who are jabbaar, Hellfire said: ‘I have been given the privilege of receiving the arrogant and the tyrants.’ We might think that we are not oppressive, only the rulers who kill people are oppressive, but we are also jabbaar sometimes. In the context of Esa alayhi salaam, he says: وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَتِي وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا , he was barr (righteous) towards his mother and he was not a jabbaar (in the meaning of disobedient). So jabbaar means one who is forceful against his parents in this context; when parents tell their child to do something and the child doesn’t listen. So jabbaar is not just a mighty tyrant ruler, jabbaar can be any person who refuses to obey, harms and hurts other people and doesn’t listen to the authority. The first lesson for us is that we are ‘ebaad (servants), we should recognize ourselves as ‘ebaadAllah (servants of Allah), if we don’t, the consequences are very severe because Allah does not like those who do jabr.
2) The second lesson we learn is that if someone is unable to reach their goals, they find constriction in time and ability, we should ask Al Jabbaar to fix our deficiencies. When we are unable to achieve a goal and find ourselves weak, when you find yourself in a mess, and unable, ask Al Jabbaar who will make up all of the deficiencies.
Duaas with this Name
a) In between the two sajdahs, there is the duaa:
Allahumma-ighfirlee warhamnee wahdini warhamnee wajburnee wa ‘aafinee warzuqnee warfa’nee,
‘O Allah, forgive me, have mercy upon me, guide me, enrich me, give me health, grant me sustenance and raise my rank.’ Jabr in this duaa does not mean to compel, but rather it means ‘fix my situation’, in the meaning of muslih (reformer).
b) There is a saheeh hadeeth in Abi Dawood that mentions a duaa that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would recite in sujood and ruku:
subhana dhil jabaroot wal malakoot wal kibriyaa’i wal ‘athamah, Glorified is the the One who possesses jabaroot- which means greatness here, wal malakoot is all of His dominion, wal kibriyaa’ and the greatness, wal ‘athamah, and the grandness. (‘How perfect He is, The Possessor of total power, sovereignty, magnificence and grandeur.’)
We should write these duaas down and memorize them, so we benefit from them.
Why are these duaas mentioned in sajdah? We are most close to Allah in sujood and mentioning His Greatness expresses our humility.
So Allah ta’ala is Al Jabbaar: The One who Compells, The One who Reforms and The One who is Great.