Translation of Ḥawqalah

from:

ahmed <support@kontactr.com>
date: 13 December 2014 at 02:19
subject: Kontactr: Translation please
Brother in islam-there is no power to avoid evil and no ability to do good
except through allah most high, most mighty-from imam al-waqidi conquest of
sahabas book.nnwould it be possible to translate into Arabic and Latin words
please nnselam

REPLY

The phrase is called Ḥawqalah, just as “Allāhu Akbar” is called Takbīr.

لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله

Lā ḥāwla wa lā quwwata illā billāh

There is no power to avoid evil and no ability to do good
except through Allah [Most High, Most Mighty]

 

Although commonly translated as, “There is no strength and no might” I find that translation rather simplistic and lacking in sense. What exactly is the wide distinction between might, strength and power or any other synonym in English? Unfortunately this is but an example of the mental laziness of the Muslims. Some well-meaning person might have suggested this incomplete translation decades ago, our mentality is to continue customs of previous generations even in such matters which can be rectified. I had previously written on incorrectly translated common narrations and supplications.

Ḥawl means a power of negation and Quwwah means a power of positive implementation. This distinction is not apparent with, “There is no power/might/strength…” etc

The following extract from Fatḥul Bārī, Commentary on Ṣaḥīḥul Bukhārī, by Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him), should explain the above and clarify the reasons for my translation:

معنى لا حول لا تحويل للعبد عن معصية الله إلا بعصمة الله ولا قوة له على طاعة الله إلا بتوفيق الله وقيل معنى لا حول لا حيلة وقال النووي : هي كلمة استسلام وتفويض وأن العبد لا يملك من أمره شيئا وليس له حيلة في دفع شر ولا قوة في جلب خير إلا بإرادة الله – تعالى – –

The meaning of lā ḥawla is that the slave cannot turn away from the disobedience of Allāh, except through the protection of Allāh. And he has no quwwah to obey Allāh, except with Allāh granting him the ability. It is also said that lā ḥāwla is lā hīlah (no strategy). An-Nawawi said, “It is a word of surrender and handing over one’s affairs. The slave owns absolutely nothing of his own affair. He has no strategy which can repel evil, and no power in acquiring good except through what Allāh Most High intends.”

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi

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