Meaning of As-Sami
The All-Hearing, The Ever-Listening. The One whose hearing and attention comprehends everything. The One who pays attention to every supplication and invocation.
The One who listens to every voice. The One who hears and accepts every word, thought and secret. The One who listens to everything, perfectly, eternally, without limitations. From the root seen – meem – ‘ayn, which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
to hear, to listen
to accept, to receive, to be told
to pay attention to, pay regard to
to understand the meaning
This name is used in the Qur’ān. For example, see 17:1
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
Call upon the One that Hears
As-Sami’ means the one that hears. Allah Almighty is Sami’. He hears all sounds. The lowest sounds and the most secret whispers cannot be excluded from His hearing. Nothing can prevent Him from hearing. He is the one that hears the prayer uttered by a seed and answers its prayer by making it a flower. He is the one that hears the prayer of a butterfly to have wings and answers its prayer by giving it wings. He is the one that hears the prayer of a leaf that is about to dry and answers its prayer with an army of clouds. He is the one that hears everything from the most secret sound felt by a heart to the footsteps of an ant in the dark. When you have desires you cannot even name, needs you don’t even recognize, hopes for yourself and others that you make du’aa for, Allah hears them before you even say it. He hears all that is said and even that which is isn’t.
How many peoples’ voices can you simultaneously hear and understand?
They get lost and confused and garbled; it’s hard to concentrate with the sound of so many voices. But look at the magnificence of Allah’s attribute of hearing. This universe has a composition of music full of various sounds and different songs from the movements of galaxies to the buzzes of flies, from the songs of winds to the exclamations of clouds, from the waves of seas to the songs of rain.
Allah Almighty hears all of those sounds simultaneously. He hears the sounds of all beings, from the fish at the bottom of the sea to the stars in the sky and from humans to angels. No sound can prevent another sound and these sounds are always in harmony – the only cacophony created is when we intervene with our mortal limitations.
Since Allah is Sami’ and hears everything, when we pray to Him, begging, asking Him to hear our supplication. Since He is Sami’ and hears everything, and even what we feel in our hearts, we need to control our tongues and hearts; we must not let our Lord hear what He does not want to hear from us. Be mindful of what you say to others and to yourself in your own heart – Allah hears all this too. But know that even the hopes we don’t say out loud, and indeed the ones we should keep private to only share with Allah, He hears; He understands, and He accepts.
- We are not that powerful. Being the only mammal with a full blown concise and ability of free-choice, we think we are pretty powerful but Allah puts us in check, even the things we take for granted, even the things we are blessed with are limited.
- This information, however, should console the believer. Allah hears everything even when it feels like you cannot or for people who are limited in speech – for the mute and the deaf, know that Allah hears you. Allah hears even the animals that are voiceless like fish or ants. Allah hears their du’as and their dhikr – the buzzing and the cawing that you think are annoyances, He hears for all their beauty.
- Now this information should also keep you in check as Allah is always Hearing. The secret you told, Allah knows. That horrible thing you just, Allah heard. The backbiting you just did, Allah will hold you accountable for it inshAllah. This point should be used to give us some decency, however, encourage us to be better.
“In whatever business you may be, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Qur’an, and whatever deed you may be doing, We are witness to what you are engaged in.” [Surah Yunus: 61]
Meaning of Al-Basir
The All-Seeing, The All-Perceiving, The All-Comprehending. The One whose insight sees all things clearly, both the apparent and the hidden. The One who sees and understands all that has been, and all that will be.
The One who has insight into all things. The One who perceives every detail. The One who understands all things, both outer and inner. The One who has given to mankind the outer eye of the body, and the inner eye of the heart. From the root ba-saad-ra, which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
to see, behold, notice
to understand, to know
to perceive, to have insight
to be acutely aware
Be Reassured by the One that Sees
The general order in this realm, from the smallest atoms to the movement of the stars, proves that Allah (swt) is al-Basir for such an order can only be controlled by a being that sees the whole universe. A being that cannot see and create the whole universe simultaneously cannot establish and maintain this order. That is, the order in this realm witnesses with its tongue of disposition that Allah Almighty is Basir.
The orderly and artistic bodies of the creatures, the creation of their sustenance, and the dance of the heavenly bodies is deliverance to those who need it just in time. Similarly, the creation of the creatures with decoration, their wise relationships with one another, the ease in their creation, the difference in their shapes and many other aspects witness that wonder and power of God.
“No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension yet is acquainted with all things.” (al-An’am: 103)
“Say: Shall I inform you of things far better than that. For the pious and God-fearing are Gardens with their Lord underneath which rivers flow, remaining in them eternally, and pure wives, and the pleasure of Allah. Allah is al-Basir of His slaves.” (Surah Ali-‘Imran: 15)
What we need to learn from this name is as follows: Since Allah is al-Basir and sees everything, He definitely sees us and watches all of our acts. No state of us can be concealed from Him. Since He sees us, we need to feel ashamed and have good manners. We must not show Him the deeds that He does not consent to; that is, since we cannot hide our deeds from Him, we must not do those ugly deeds.
We must avoid doing the deeds about which we feel ashamed even in the presence of those we feel would not care – Allah would care. We always in the presence of Allah. He hears what we say and sees our state; nothing can be concealed from Him. I ask that Allah pardon us the ugly states that He sees in us with His grace and generosity.
This is why Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “Excellence in faith is to worship your Lord as if you see Him, and though you do not see Him, know that He sees you.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
As-Sami’ and Al-Basir, together
The more aware we are that Allah sees us, the greater our efforts will be in our worship. An employee would obviously work harder and more productively and more conscientiously under a manager’s watchful eye. How much greater is the effect when we know we are being watched by our Creator who sees and hears everything that we do? This consciousness will help us in our humility and our devotion in every act of worship that we perform and inspire us to do righteous deeds so we can please our Lord.
Allah hears all sounds and sees all things. He is aware of all that’s happening in this room, the rustle of your old bag as your foot pushes up against it, the frayed cotton of your scarf as your hands runs over it, the sound of my voice and everything that’s running through your head as you listen to me. Are you aware of all of this, down to the minute detail? Allah hears everything we say, no matter how privately we speak and sees whatever we do, no matter how we attempt to hide it. Our most secretive speech and our most private action is an open declaration before God. Indeed, He hears even our innermost thoughts. Everything is evident to Him, since He is its Creator and He is the one who enables and sustains all that unfolds.
The comfort of this is that even in the moments you feel completely alone, so distant from Allah, He is there. There is no need to tell Him – but of course through supplication do exactly that – because he already knows and has witnessed all that you have gone through – imagine that the Lord of the Worlds has all the time and care to be with you and hear your pleas. All you have to do is call upon Him. Not like a celebrity to whom you have to write a letter with a half-hope of response, not like a friend who you have to fill in on all the details after the fact – He is already aware. He is never too busy to listen or uninterested in your matters, He never tires of you, and for only your submission in return He offers the greatest guidance. His words in the Quran are a mercy upon you.
“Indeed, I am with you, hearing and seeing.” [Surah Ta-Ha: 46]
Jazakillah Khair to our guest writer for this beautiful article 🙂 ; may we all benefit from the wisdom shared. Ameen.