The name al-Qawī (the Strong) appears nine times in the Qur’ān, like in:
“Allah is Strong, severe in punishment.” [Sūrah al-Anfāl: 52]
“Indeed, your Lord is the Strong, the Mighty” [Sūrah Hūd: 66]
“Lo! Allah! He is the Provider, the Possessor of Unyielding Strength.” [Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt: 58]
This name conveys the idea of Allah’s unlimited capability, that nothing is outside of His power and nothing can triumph over Him. Allah is Strong; nothing can stand as an obstacle to His will. This is why we often see this name in conjunction with His name al-`Azīz (the Mighty), especially in the context of His giving support to the believers and the downtrodden against the tyrannical and unjust.
For instance, Allah says: “Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause), for verily Allah is Strong, Mighty.” [Sūrah al-Hajj: 40]
Likewise, He says: “And Allah repulsed the disbelievers in their wrath; they gained no good. Allah averted their attack from the believers. Allah is ever Strong, Mighty.” [Sūrah al-Ahzāb: 25]
Allah loves for the believers to possess this quality as well: in the strength of their faith, resolve, commitment, integrity, and character. This is what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) meant when he said:
A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, though both are good. Hasten to what benefits you, seeking Allah’s help, and do not feel defeated. If some misfortune befalls you, do not say: “If only I had done such-and-such…” but say: “It is what Allah decreed, and He does as He wills.” The words “If only…” open the doors for Satan’s machinations. [Sahīh Muslim (2664)]
At the same time, Allah detests strength that is built upon violence and tyranny. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “No nation is blessed unless its weakest members can demand their rights without hesitation.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah (2426)]
The strength of justice and equality keeps the strength of the individual within reasonable bounds.
Strength, therefore, is like other qualities of Allah which He loves to see manifested among His servants. Allah expresses those qualities in the most perfect and complete way.
Likewise, Allah is All-Knowing and He loves us to be knowledgeable. He is Just and He loves us to be just in our dealings. He is Merciful and He loves it for us to show mercy. He is Patient and patience is a virtue we are called upon to embrace. He is Beautiful and He loves for us to be beautiful.
Therefore, Allah does not love it for us to be wealthy in a manner that is covetous and miserly, nor does He love it for us to be strong in a violent or domineering way, nor to exhibit a crass and immodest form of beauty. His attributes are pure and noble and He loves us to exhibit pure and noble qualities as well.
Allah’s strength is irresistible. There is no limit to His strength, and nothing presents Him with even the least difficulty. He says: “Lo! Allah! He is the Provider, the Possessor of Unyielding Strength.” [Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt: 58]
When we refer to Allah by the name al-Qawi (the Strong), we are expressing the completeness and perfection of His might. When we refer to Allah as al-Matīn (the Possessor of Mighty, Unyielding Strength), we are expressing the irresistible and unrelenting nature of His might.
Indeed, Allah has promised the believers that He will aid them and grant them victory. He says: “Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause), for verily Allah is Strong, Mighty.” [Sūrah al-Hajj: 40]
And: “Allah has decreed: ‘I will most certainly prevail, I and My Messengers’. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.” [Sūrah al-Mujādilah: 21]