Al Awwal name of Allah means The First, The One who was beforeeverything, without any beginning. In this blog post, we will look at the deep meaning of this beautiful Name.
Al Awwal in Arabic
Al Awwal Meaning in English
Al Awwal, The First is the One, before Whom there is nothing, and the Last is He, after Whom there is nothing; and it is not consonant with the Majesty of Allah that there should be anything before or after Him.
That’s the concept of the Prophetic narration: “Allah Almighty was Alone and there was nothing with Him.”
That is to say, He is the One, of Whom all are in need, even though He is free from need of anyone since He can do independently without anyone in the world, and all of them are but dependents upon Him.
Al Awwal in Quran
This Name occur only once in the Qur’ an, as shown in His saying:
هُوَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُ وَٱلۡأٓخِرُ وَٱلظَّـٰهِرُ وَٱلۡبَاطِنُۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Transliteration: Huwal Awwalu wal’Aakhiru waz Zaahiru wal Baatinu wa huwa bikulli shai’in Aleem.
English Translation: “He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.” Surah Hadeed: 3
However, Allah’s being the First and the Last, is not restricted to both time and place: it is above all of that, something beyond reason, which none could be acquainted with.
The statement of the Messenger of Allah “Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him” in this case is the best to illustrate the concept:
It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah that The Messenger of Allah “Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him” ordered us saying:
When any one of you intends to go to sleep, he should lie on the bed on his right side and then say it.
There is a nice du’a mentioned in the hadith literature, which tells us what he would sometimes recite before going to bed.
In this du’a, it asks for debts and desires to be cleared so he may rest in peace. He ﷺ calls upon these two names Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir, and we’ve highlighted them for your reference.
اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ السَّمَوَاتِ وَرَبَّ الأَرْضِ وَرَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ رَبَّنَا وَرَبَّ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ فَالِقَ الْحَبِّ وَالنَّوَى وَمُنْزِلَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنْجِيلِ وَالْفُرْقَانِ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ أَنْتَ آخِذٌ بِنَاصِيَتِهِ اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ الأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَىْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَىْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَىْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَىْءٌ اقْضِ عَنَّا الدَّيْنَ وَأَغْنِنَا مِنَ الْفَقْرِ
Meaning: “O Allah. the Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Earth and Lord of the Magnificent Throne, our Lord, and the Lord of everything, the Splitter of the grain of com and the date stone (or fruit kernel), the Revealer of Torah and Bible and Criterion (the Holy Qur’an), I seek refuge with You from the evil of everything You are to seize by the forelock (You have perfect control over it).
0 Allah, You are the First, there is naught before You, and You are the Last and there is naught after You, and You are the Evident and there is nothing above You, and You are the Hidden and there is nothing beyond You. Remove the burden of debt from us and relieve us from want.”
Some scholars try to express their taste of the sweetness of this Name, telling that Allah’s Being the First refers to His everlasting Eternity before Whom nothing exists; and His Being the Last refers to His perpetuity and Endlessness, after Whom nothing exists.
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Allah’s Primacy then is necessary for the existence of the creation: had there not been such as is the Causer of existence, there would have been no existence at all.
Every being should have Causer in order to bring it to existence. This Causer of Existence should be the first and the earliest of all.
But, if one does his best in attempt to perceive the reality and the nature of this Primacy of Allah, surely, he will be put to confusion and amazement, for whatever thoughts and ideas that one might have of Allah, He Almighty is, to be sure, different from all expectations.
How does one get the etiquette of both Names
First of all, the faithful believer should occupy himself by what is enduring, never-ending, i.e. the good things of the hereafter, from what is perishable, and should, inevitably, come to an end, i.e. the splendour of this present life.
He should hasten to do an that is good, and refrain from all that is evil. He should be the first to follow the right way of Allah, and the last to deviate from the true path.