From Darkness to Light
Al-Hafiz: The Preserver
Allah Hafiz Allah Hu.
Insha’Allah, we are going to say “Allah Hafiz Allah Hu,” and curl the tongue against the roof of the mouth, bend the head over the heart and then go into tefekkür, contemplative meditation. Then afterwards I will try to open up the meaning of this esma, this attribute. Allah Hafiz Allah
The esma of Hafiz is one of the Creator Allah’s attributes of preserving, keeping and protecting His creation. He is the One who knows to the most delicate, finest point everything that He has created, and He keeps it and protects it. I am going to try to open this up to you with examples. What is it to preserve? What is it to protect? They are all inside this honored name of Hafiz.
Look at the sky that Allah has created. How many things are turning within that emptiness of space? None of them crash with each other; all of them turn within their own boundaries. None of them cross over their own boundaries and into the boundaries of the others. These are preserved with the Hafiz attribute of Allah, and then He protects them. And how is He protecting them? By making them do the duty that He has given them. If He does not protect, then they will not be able to do their duty, and they will be lost.
We look at people. They memorize a book. For example, they memorize the Quran, and we call those people hafiz. Such a person can keep in his memory the 6,666 ayets, and because he keeps it with the esma of Hafiz, this person is called a hafiz.
A second meaning of Hafiz is to protect. So a person preserves this in his memory; how does he protect it? His protection is to know the knowledge that is inside of this and to live it. Then he will have both preserved it and, by living this knowledge, protected it. It is then that that person can be given the name of hafiz. This is the Hafiz that Allah is asking for; meaning to protect the commands that Allah has sent, to live them and allow them to be lived. If this does not happen, then he will just be a person who memorizes dryly.
Harun al-Rashid, one of the Abbasid halifes who lived a thousand years ago, had a parrot. It was a very smart parrot. He made the parrot memorize Ya Sin-i Sherif, which is six pages, and this parrot could recite it. This is also preservation. He memorized, but he was not able to be a hafiz. Why? Because he is an animal in his creation. He does not know what he recites, does not know what he’s living. So this means that to be a hafiz is not just through preservation, but by living the meaning as well.
Now, insha’Allah, we have understood the difference between preservation and protection. For example, you gather fruit and you make a preserve, a jelly. So that the goodness is not lost, you preserve it. With what? You put elements into it to preserve it so that its taste does not become corrupted, and it maintains its life there. But you have to protect it. How are you going to protect it? You put it in a jar and close its lid so that air does not come in and there you have put it under protection.
Look, Allah created us, and He has taken us under His protection with such a use of the Hafiz attribute. He has put the most valuable part of you, your brain, into a box that is strong and does not break. Look under what protection He is putting it. He has given you a heart and lungs, and put these in such a box that when something bumps up against it, or when you fall, an elastic cage that does not break protects it. These are all the characteristics of the esma of Hafiz. The most valuable artery that comes from your heart doesn’t go in an open and surface place. It is stuck to your bones so that it does not become damaged in an accident. It is kept protected. How is it protected? The muscles which surround it protect it completely, so that it doesn’t get damaged in a trauma or accident.
This is the kind of Hafiz that Allah is. He is protecting us better than we protect ourselves. So how are we to protect ourselves? There are prescriptions that He has sent to us. Which ones are beneficial to us? Which things are harmful to us? We have to know these, and we have to protect ourselves with them. For example, Allah created bread and made it
halal, lawful, for us to consume. We eat it, we take our nourishment, we take our vitamins from it. Now you can toast this bread, but if it burns and turns to coal then all of its vitamins are lost. This bread that was
halal becomes haram, unlawful, to us. Then He says, “Don’t eat it.” Why? Because there is no nourishment in this. It will poison you. And He allows you to know this through your instincts. It is in such a way that you can protect yourself.
This is an example from the material world, and if we give an example from the spiritual, He has given you a ruh, spirit. He has given you a trust. How are you going to protect this? With worship. With zikrs. With sincerity. With service to human beings. You are then going to place yourself under material and spiritual protection. In Tasawwuf, Sufism, the actual Hafiz is the title given to someone who puts his iman, faith, and his behavior under protection. You are to take no suspicion and you are to carry no duality so that you can put yourself under protection. If you carry duality, then your protection will be corrupted, and this negative energy that we call Shaitan, Satan, will come into you. That is why we should do our worship with sincerity, not as a show. Let the zikrs that we perform carry meaning. Let them give joy to your heart. Let them give you huzur, peace and tranquillity. Let them increase the ashk, the endless love, that you have for Allah. Then through the angels that Allah has created you will be put under protection. And what are those angels that take you into protection? I spoke of this the other night. They are the goodness and beauty that is in your thoughts. These thoughts will rule the molecules that are in your body. Then these molecules do the job that it is their duty to do, and protect you in your life.
Allah created everything with the order “Be.” He sent you to this universe with love, and He is allowing you to live through His love. And so that you do not lose His love, He has opened some doors of examination, of tests for you, and for you to pass one test He has sent you prescriptions through the prophets. What are they? They are the Divine Books. The Torah, the Gospel, the Quran, the Psalms of David. And through the prophets these were allowed to be known, and this trail is continuing still today. If we lose this trail, then we will come out of protection, in the same way that if you eat the things that are unlawful to you, you will poison yourself, and you will be out of protection. Then what will you do? You’ll send yourself to your grave. In the same way that you are protecting your body through your instincts, you also have to keep the spiritual trust that Allah has given you under protection.
You know that this one of the 99 esmas, the esma of Hafiz, is working in this way in people. Every esma works in the human being. Allah has given these 99 esmas to the human being. In the Quran this is verified with ayets. It says, “We have given all of the esma to Adem, son of man.” That’s why every week we try to explain one of them. Let us know these; let us learn these and try to live. Let us come to awareness. May Allah help us, and not separate us from the goodness and beauty.
Allah Hafiz Allah Hu.