Sunday, June 19, 2005

The secret in "La' hawla wa la' quwwata illa' billah"



Many of the verses of Quran and sayings of Prophet we take for granted too simply without pondering deeply over it. Most of the cases, there are a lot of information hidden in them. The phrase, "la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah" is one such.

The magnificent phrase la' hawla wa la' quwwata illa' billah is mentioned numerous times in the hadith (sayings of Muhammad) as being highly regarded and highly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad.

It is not uncommon to find the phrase la' hawla wa la quwwata illa billah translated simply as there is no power or strength except through Alla'h. However that translation fails to capture the grandeur and deeper significance of this magnificent phrase.

Translating the word hawla simply as power is an over-simplification. The Arabic root h-w-l depicts all manner of change and transformation. The root h-w-l has led to a wide variety of words, but they all share this common thread of change and transformation. Certainly it is true that transformation and change require power, but power alone is not an adequate translation.... change and transformation are the keys to this magnificent phrase.

The phrase may be translated word-by-word as:

la = no, not, none, neither
hawla = change, alteration, transformation, movement, motion
wa = and
la = no, not, none, neither
quwwata = strength, power, potency, force, might, vigor
illa = but, except, if not
bi = with, to, for, in, through, by means of
llah = allah

Such change and transformation can only occur through the tahwil (transformation) of Alla'h. That is to say, true change and transformation can arise only through the awesome and glorious powers of Alla'h.

Here are some literal translations of the phrase la' hawla wa la' quwwata illa' billah that incorporate the idea of change and transformation:


There is neither change nor power except by means of Allah.

There is no transformation or strength except through Allah.

There is neither progress nor might except through Allah.

If we just remember the zikr of mystics, "Nothing exist but Allah" may be we can understand the deeper meaning of the phrase. Do you see the mysteries unfolding? .... inspired from the website: http://www.wahiduddin.net/words/tahwil.htm Pin It Now!

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