Reflections on Dua Jawshan Kabir 3

Life in Section 70

The Dua Jawshan Kabir in a section focuses on life:

يا حي قبل كل حي يا حيا بعد كل حي يا حي الذي ليس كمثله حي يا حي الذي لا يشاركه حي يا حي الذي لا يحتاج إلى حي يا حي الذي كل حي يا الذي يرزق كل حي يا حيا لم يرث الحياة من حي يا حي الذي يحي الموتى يا حي و يا قيوم لا تأخذه سنة ولا نوم.

O Ever-living, preceding every living being, O Ever-living, succeeding every living being, O Ever-living, like unto Whom there is none, O Ever-living, Who has no living partner, O Ever-living, Who is not dependent on any living being, O Ever-living, Who causes every living being to die, O Ever-living, Who has not inherited life from any living being, O Ever-living, Who provides sustenance to every living being, O Ever-living, Who quickens the dead, O Ever-living, O Self-Subsistent, Slumber seizeth Him not, nor sleep".(1)

God's attribute of life is so important that sometimes it is mentioned right after His Oneness, as we read:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ.

Allah - there is no god except Him - is the Living One, the All-Sustainer".(2)

Based on this verse, if God was not Living, He would not be able to be the All-Sustainer who keeps all the worlds and creatures.

Interestingly, sometimes divine life is mentioned even before His Oneness, as in The Holy Qur'an:

هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ ۗ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

He is the Living One, there is no god except Him. So supplicate Him, putting exclusive faith in Him. All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.(3)

"O Ever-living, like unto Whom there is none!" This phrase indicates that no living being's life can resemble God's perfect life. For instance, human life is always in danger; humans occasionally get ill and, in a defined term, they die. Even if they do not become ill, they regularly go to a lower level of life when they fall asleep.

"O Ever-living, Who is not dependent on any living being!" Except for God, every living being is in need of other living beings. Human beings in order to survive, depend on other humans, animals, plants, etc. Animals are in need of other living beings as well.

"O Ever-living, Who causes every living being to die!" One of the Qur'anic principles is that life is given only by God and is taken away only by Him. Even when a murder takes place, the murderer is not the one who literally takes away the victim's life; rather, his crime leads to the victim's death only if God permits. Here, the story of Prophet Abraham (a) is worthy to be mentioned. His enemy, Nimrod, claimed that he is the one who gives life and takes it away. Regarding this, reads:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ.

Have you not regarded him who argued with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him kingdom? When Abraham said, "My Lord is He who gives life and brings death," he replied, "I [too] give life and bring death." Abraham said, "Indeed Allah brings the sun from the east; now you bring it from the west." There at the faithless one was dumbfounded. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing lot".(4)

God showed Nimrod that he is wrong in his claims. When Nimrod wanted to kill Abraham (a) by throwing him in a huge fire, God saved Abraham (a) in the middle of the fire. Thus, it was made known to everybody that it was only God who gave life and brought death. Regarding this says:

قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانْصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَرَادُوا بِهِ كَيْدًا فَجَعَلْنَاهُمُ الْأَخْسَرِينَ

They said, "Burn him, and help your gods, if you are to do anything!' We said, 'O fire! Be cool and safe for Abraham!" They sought to outmaneuver him, but We made them the biggest losers.(5)

"O Ever-living, Who has not inherited life from any living being!" Except for God, every living being inherits life from another living being. All human beings, animals, and plants owe their life to a living being before them.

Finally, let's finish this article by calling God by reading a section of this dua, which is one of its most beautiful sections:

يا دليل المتحيرين يا غياث المستغيثين يا صريخ المستصرخين يا جار المستجيرين يا أمان الخائفين يا عون المؤمين يا راحم المساكين يا ملجأ العاصين يا غافر المذنبين يا مجيب دعوة المضطرين.

O Guide of the waylaid, O Rescuer of those who appeal, O Helper of those who call, O Aider of those who call, O Shelter of the fearful, O Succorer of the faithful, O Merciful to the indigent, O Refuge for the disobedient, O Forgiver of the sinner, O Responder to the supplicant!(6)


The Holy Qur'an. Translated by 'Ali Quli Qara'i.

Ibn Tawus, Ali b. Musa. Al-Iqbal. Qum: Daftar Tablighat Islami, 1997.

Reflections on Dua Jawshan Kabir Mohammad Ali Shomali

Kaf'ami, Ibrahim b. Ali al-. Al-Misbah. Qum: Dar al-Radi, 1984.

Kafami, Ibrahim b. Ali. Al-Balad al-Amin. Beirut: Muassassa al-Alami li al-Matbuat, 1997.

Kulayni, Muhammad b. Ya'qub. Al-Kafi. Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al- Islamiyyah, 1986.

Majlisi. Bihar al-Anwar. 111 vols. Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 1982.

Muhaddith Nuri, Husayn b. Muhammad. Mustadrak al-Wasa'il. Qum: Mu'assasat Al al-Bayt, 1987.

Qummi, Shaykh Abbas. Mafatih al-]inan. 8th. Tehran: Daftar-i Nashr-i Farhang-i Islami, 1994


The Author: Mohammad Ali Shomali

International Institute for Islamic Studies, Qom, Iran
Spiritual Quest Summer and Autumn 2012. Vol. 2. No. 2




1. Section 70 of dua Jawshan Kabir

2. The Holy Qur'an 2:255

3. The Holy Qur'an 40:65

4. The Holy Qur'an 2:258

5. The Holy Qur'an 21:68-70

6. the 14th Section of dua Jawshan Kabir