لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله, also known as ‘ḥawqalah’ is a very concise yet comprehensive statement. With it, one proclaims the oneness of Allah and expresses one’s reverence, awe and need of Him.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Shall I not teach you a statement which lies beneath the Throne and is from the treasures of Paradise? Say لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله upon which Allah says: ‘My slave has submitted and surrendered himself.’” (Hākim)
The ḥawqalah is a treasure because the reward of it is stored and protected for the person who uttered it in the hereafter, just as treasure is stored and protected in this world.
Imām al Nawawī wrote: ‘The scholars said that the reason behind this statement being one of the treasures of Paradise is because it embodies complete submission, entrusting one’s affairs and obedience of Allah. One acknowledges that there is no Creator other than Him and none can turn back His Command, and that the slave is powerless in his own affairs.’
He ﷺ also said: “It is a gate from the gates of Paradise.” (Tirmidhī)
What Does لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله Mean?
- A slave cannot move from one situation to another (ḥawl), nor does he have the strength (quwwah) to do this except by the will and help of Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā).
- There is no power to be obedient except by Allah, nor is there any strength to stop sinning except by Allah.
- There is no power in averting evil, or strength in attaining good except through Allah.
The ḥawqalah is extremely powerful when you are undergoing difficult circumstances, or when you are confronting an enemy or a tyrannical person in authority. It is also powerful in repelling shayṭān and in removing poverty.
“This phrase (i.e. ḥawqalah) has an amazing effect of helping one to accomplish difficult work, bear hardships, enter upon kings and those he fears, and undergo dreadful experiences.” (Ibn al-Qayyim)
Likewise, it is extremely effective in removing sickness, sadness and anxiety. This is because it entails completely entrusting one’s matters to Allah, realising one’s own powerlessness, and being conscious that only Allah can bring about change from one state to another.
The next time you are in a difficult situation or you feel anxious, try to regulate your breathing, keep repeating ‘Lā ḥawla wa lā quwaata illā billāh’, and internally absorb its powerful meaning.
“Whoever is overburdened by worries and anxiety should frequently recite: Lā hawla walā quwwata illā billāh.” (Ibn Al Qayyim)