The Almighty Allah called His Exalted Divine Character by the name Al-Kareem, and this name is mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an and in the authenticated Prophetic texts.
O man! What has made you careless concerning your Lord, the Most Generous? Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion. (Al-Infitar 82: 6,7)
The religious call succeeds if it addresses both the heart and mind:
Allah addresses man’s heart and reasoning in one of the most delicate verses in the Qur’an, which indicates that the religious speech will not be fruitful unless it addresses man’s heart and mind together. Man is a comprehending mind, a loving heart and a moving body. The mind is nourished by knowledge, the heart is nourished by love, whereas the body is nourished by food and drinks.
Thus, when man fulfills the needs of these three important parts, definitely there will be prosperity. However, falling short in fulfilling any of these needs on the account of other needs will lead to extremism, and there is a big difference between prosperity and extremism.
O man! What has made you careless. (Al-Infitar 82:6)
Allah then addresses man’s heart:
Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion. (Al-Infitar 82:7)
Verily, We created man of the best stature (mould). (At-Tin 95:4)
The Work of Allah, Who perfected all thing. (An-Naml 27:88)
Allah: Al-Kareem, Al-Ghani
Dear brothers, the name Al-Kareem comes with the name Al-Ghani (The Ever-Affluent) in the following Ayah:
And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own-self, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own-self). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful. (An-Naml 27:40)
In the world of men, you might notice that the stingy rich man is closefisted. Allah says:
Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him And niggardly when good touches him. (Al-Ma`arij 70:19-21)
He does not spend unlike the Almighty Allah who is Kareem and Ghani. You also might find a generous man in spite of his poverty, or a rich man who is stingy. In fact being generous and rich is one of the noblest characteristics one can have.
And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own-self). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful.”
Al-Kareem in Prophetic Sunnah
We have discussed how the name Al-Kareem is mentioned in the Quran so far, but what about Sunnah?
“`Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘Should I not teach you some words that if you say them, Allah will forgive you, even if you were already forgiven?’ He (peace be upon him) said, ‘Say: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Most High, the Magnificent. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Ever-Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Magnificent Throne. (La Ilaha Illa Allahu Al-`Aliyu Al-`Azim, La Ilaha Illa Allahul-Al-Halimu Al-Kareem, Lailaha Illa Allah, Subhan Allahu Rabbil-Arsh Al-`Azim.)’”. (At-Tirmidhi)
“Indeed your Lord is Modest and Generous, and would never turn the hands of a slave without gain when he raises them to Him (in supplication).” (At-Tabarani)
Core of `Ibadah
Du`aa’ is the core of `Ibadah:
Hence (Allah the Almighty) says:
Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him, to the disbelievers): “My Lord pays attention to you only because of your invocation to Him. But now you have indeed denied (Him). So the torment will be yours for ever (inseparable permanent punishment).” (Al-Furqan 25:77)
Du`aa’ is the core of `Ibadah (worshiping), because the one, who makes du`aa’ to Allah believes in Allah’s Existence, believes that Allah hears him, believes that Allah Has the Power to answer his du`aa’ and believes that Allah loves him.
Hence, if man believes that Allah exists, hears, knows everything, has the power to answer him and loves him, and that Allah is the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy, only then he will reach the highest ranks of having faith. This is why Allah loves to be supplicated persistently:
“Allah likes to see His servant resorting to Him even in the most trivial things:
(Let one of you ask his Lord concerning his needs until he asks him even for the salt of his food and a shoestring when his breaks.)
Thus, du`aa’ is the gist of `Ibadah. Allah says:
Those who remain constant in their Salat (prayers). (Al-Ma’arij 70:23)
In this Ayah “remain constant” means in their du`aa’ to Allah.
`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what do you think, if I witness Laylat Al-Qadr, what I should say?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Say, O Allah You are Forgiving and Generous, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me’. (At-Tirmidhi)
One of the most repeated supplications made by the Prophet- `A’ishah reported, is the following:
“O Allah You are Forgiving and Generous, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me.” (At-Tirmizi)
These are the texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah where the name Al-Kareem is mentioned.
Al-Kareem in Arabic
According to the Arabic language Al-Kareem is an adjective in the form of the active participle, which means that it describes the one who is generous. Hence, whoever is generous is Kareem, and its antonym is La’eem (the vile).
A lot of exalted characters are included in generosity, whereas lots of indecent manners are included in vileness. In the Arabic language, the adjective Kareem might be used to describe a man, a horse, a camel a tree or any other thing.
Also, Al-Kareemah is used to mention the daughter of someone. Moreover, the word Kareem in Arabic language denotes the good thing, like the Kareem stones (like diamond and other gems), and it also describes the rich and As-Sakhi (charitable man).
The difference between Al-Kareem (the generous man)and As-Sakhi, is that As-Sakhi is generous when he is asked by others, whereas Al-Kareem is generous even without being asked by others, and this makes him more exalted than As-Sakhi.
Again, Al-Karam (the Arabic noun) denotes bestowal, greatness, honor, dignity and generosity in giving others.
By: Dr. Mohammad Ratib Al-Nabulsi