لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله
LAA HAWLA WALAA QUWWATA ILLAA BILLAH
Its meaning in the words of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud Radiallahu Anhu narrated that, once, while in the company of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, he uttered the words ‘Laa Hawla walaa Quwwata Illa Billah’. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam enquired, “Do you know what is the meaning and explanation (tafseer) of these words?” He replied, “Allah and His Rasul know best.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam explained,
لا حول عن معصية الله إلا بعصمة الله – “there is no ability (in anyone) to abstain from disobeying Allah and sinning, except by the protection of Allah.
ولا قوة على طاعة الله إلا بعون الله - and there is no strength (in anyone) to obey Allah, except with the help of Allah.”(Musnadul Bazzaar, as quoted in Maj’mauz Zawaaid)
Moulana Abdul Ghani Phulpoori Rahmatullah Alaih has explained that although this statement is a jumlah-khabriyyah (a statement informing us of a certain matter), contained in these words is a jumlah-inshaaiyyah (in the form of a dua). We are therefore actually begging Allah, ‘O Allah, I ask You to grant me the ability to abstain from disobeying You and sinning by protecting me, and to grant me the strength to obey You by helping me’.
(اي اسئلك الحول والقوة بعصمة الله وبعون الله العلي العظيم)(Condensed from Ma’rifate Ilaahiyyah)
Why was the request to be protected from sins brought first, followed by the request to become obedient?
Every sin results in the anger and wrath of Allah Ta’ala, whereas the ability to do good is only by the mercy and kindness of Allah Ta’ala (which cannot be attained if Allah Ta’ala is displeased). The causes for the wrath of Allah will have to be removed before His mercy can be acquired. (دفع غضبه مقدم على جلب رحمته) (Condensed from Ma’rifate Ilaahiyyah)
Virtues of these words:
1) It is a treasure from the treasures of Jannah, (Sahihul Bukhari, Sahih Muslim) from beneath the Arsh (throne) of Allah (Mustadrak of Haakim), which is, in reality, the roof of Jannah.
Why has it been called a treasure of Jannah?
It has been called a treasure of Jannah for one of the following reasons:
a) It is similar to a treasure, as it is extremely valuable and will acquire for one many benefits- especially in Jannah, but was unknown to the people, till Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam presented it to the ummah.
b) It will change into the form of a treasure in Jannah and will belong to the reciter.
c) It will accumulate for a person a treasure of wealth and luxuries in Jannah.
d) It will acquire a treasure of great rewards in Jannah for its reciter.
e) In these words, one has negated any ability and strength stemming from his own being and has attributed all such ability and strength to Allah Ta’ala’s protection and help, and is thereby seeking to attain this strength and ability from Allah Himself. He has therefore attached himself to those everlasting mercies of Allah Ta’ala which will protect him from sin and help him to obey Allah Ta’ala. Those mercies have here been called a treasure from the treasures of Jannah. These mercies of Allah will result in good actions (Al-Baaqiyaatus Saalihaat) which never come to an end, the rewards and fruits of which will remain with one in Jannah. (The first four reasons are mentioned in Mirqaatul Mafaateeh of Mulla Ali Qari and quoted in Kashkole Ma’rifat, and the last was mentioned by Moulana Abdul Ghani Phulpoori, as in Ma’rifate Ilaahiyyah)
2) It is a cure from 99 diseases, the lightest one being hamm (such grief, worry and depression which can melt a man-Mirqaat). (Al-Mu’jamul Awsat of Tabraani)
3) Ibrahim Alaihis Salaam told Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam on the night of Mi’raaj to tell the Ummah that they should increase their trees and plants in Jannah by reciting these words. (Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Ibn Hibbaan)
4) Allah Ta’ala replies to this statement by announcing (to the angels-Fathul Baari), أسلم عبدي واستسلم - My servant has handed over (all the matters and affairs of both the worlds to Me in totality) and has submitted himself (to Me, worshipping Me sincerely). (Mirqaat, commenting on a Hadith in Mishkat, Mustadrak of Haakim)
This dua can also be recited thus:
" لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيْم"
LAA HAWLA WALAA QUWWATA ILLAA BILLAHIL ALIYYIL AZEEM.
(This addition is found in a narration of Musnad Bazzaar and Al-Mu’jamus Sagheer, a narration of Al-Mu’jamul Awsat and a narration of Abdur Razzaaq in his Musannaf)
Since these additional words are also proven, it would be recommended to recite it as well. They mean ‘The Most Lofty, The Greatest’. By repeating these names of Allah Ta’ala, one realizes the lofty position and grandeur of Allah, and realizes how low (دنيّ) and contemptible-despicable (حقير) he is. Once one realizes this, he has acquired abdiyat (true servitude to Allah) and has humbled himself before Allah.
After realizing one’s own low and contemptible nature which is fit to do no good, one is here asking Allah’s help through these wonderful names of His to be protected from sin and to be blessed with strength to carry out good actions. (Condensed from Ma’rifate Ilaahiyyah pg.458)
Benefits of reciting these words:
A means of acquiring the Fadhl of Allah - Shaykh Abul Hasan Shaazli Rahmatullah Alaih had quoted his Mashaayikh who had explained: “There are no words as beneficial and helpful as these words in submitting to Allah and in entering the path of His fadhl (favours and grants).” (Mazaahire Haqq, as quoted in Kashkole Ma’rifat)
A remedy for pride - Moulana Abdul Ghani Phulpoori Rahmatullah Alaih had said, “For guidance (hidaayah) and self-reformation (islaah), reciting these words in abundance is extremely beneficial and has an amazing effect. If one reads it at least 500 times daily, Allah will grant him the courage to abstain from sin and the strength to carry out good actions. If this too is not possible, then at least recite it 70 times. If due to your ibaadah, you become vain and self-conceited, recite these words while pondering over its meaning, by the blessings of which this Shaytaani trick of pride and self-conceit will be uprooted.” (Ma’rifate Ilahiyyah pg.457-461)
A means of giving up sins and reforming oneself - Moulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Rahmatullah Alaih had said, “To become pious and give up sins, recite this seven times after every salaah. Inshaa Allah (By the will of Allah), very soon, one’s sins will begin falling away....When Allah regularly informs the angels “My servant has submitted to My obedience” (in reply to this kalimah), Allah will never give the angels the chance to object to His declaration by asking why the person is still committing sin. Allah will therefore honour his declaration reforming and correcting that particular servant of His. For this reason, many Masaayikh (spiritual guides) would prescribe only the recital of this kalimah for their mureedeen (disciples), by which they would acquire connection with Allah.” (Condensed from Inaayaate Rabbani pg.11-12)
A solution to life-threatening problems, and an exit from all sorts of difficulties - Maalik Ashja’ee Radiallahu Anhu came to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and said to him, “Auf’s son (who happened to be the grandson of Maalik) has been captured and taken as a captive. (The parents are both very worried. What can they do?)” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam asked Maalik to send the following message to Auf; ‘Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam commands you to recite لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله abundantly.’ The parents obeyed this command and began reciting it in abundance. Their son, who had been tied up in leather ropes suddenly saw the ropes falling off, which allowed him to escape. While leaving, he noticed a camel belonging to his captors nearby, upon which he jumped and began to ride away. Passing by their flock of sheep or goats, he called out to the animals to move with him. The animals obeyed and all followed him. He surprised his parents when he reached the door and called out for them, as they never expected him to ever return. His father later came to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to inform him of what had happened, at which the following verse of the Quran was revealed, “ومن يتق الله يجعل له مخرجا الآية”. (Ibn Abi Haatim has quoted this from Muhammad ibn Ishaq, as in At-Targeeb wat Tarheeb. It has also been narrated from Ibn Abbaas Radiallahu Anhu in a shorter version, narrated by Ibn Mardwayh, as in Ad-Durrul Manthoor)