“Say (O Muhammad): O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You revoke the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are able to do all things.” (Ali ‘Imran: 26)

Chapter Ali ‘Imran verse 26 depicts the essence of Allah’s absolute power and infinite wisdom. In His call to Prophet Muhammad, Allah emphasizes that He is the Owner of all kingdoms in the universe. This is not merely a statement of power, but a call to reflect on the deeper aspects of His just will. When Allah declares that He bestows the kingdom to whomever He wills, and takes it away from whomever He wills, we are in fact invited to understand that everything in this world is under His control. This is a reminder that human power is limited and subject to the will and wisdom of the Giver. Allah also asserts that “He honors whom He wills and humiliates whom He wills,” showing that this provision is part of His perfect plan.

Through this verse, we are invited to understand that everything in this world is temporary, not absolute. This statement highlights the fleeting and transient nature of every aspect of life in the world. In this understanding, power, success, wealth, intelligence, influence, and all forms of worldly advantages and pleasures are only part of a temporary reality. This creates a mindset that emphasizes the importance of not being too attached to the material world, because this life is a short journey towards a more eternal ultimate goal. Therefore, understanding this temporary nature encourages us to appreciate more the spiritual values, kindness, and human relationships that have a sustainability that goes far beyond the fleeting glory of the world.

The interesting matter of this verse is why Allah uses the word “revoke” (tanzi’u) – not the word “take away” (ta’khudzu) as the opposite of the word “bestow” (tu’ti). This word gives dimension of wisdom and absolute authority of Allah to act according to His will. When Allah “revokes”, it does not only show the act of taking back, but also affirms His power to determine when a power is ended. In another word, “revoke” carries the nuance of Allah’s firm and coercive decision as the Owner of the kingdom. The use of this word creates an interesting contrast with “bestow”, creating a meaningful picture of divine control in giving and ending a power according to His all-wise will.

The use of the word “revoke” as an alternative to “take away” shows the essence of humans who often have a very strong sense of ownership over material things in the form of power given by Allah. In this context, the word “revoke” gives a nuance of a deeper erasure, showing that every power that humans have is actually a loan from Allah and can be revoked at any time according to His will. This word also reflects the basic character of humans who tend to be possessive of Allah’s gifts, so that taking it back from humans needs to be done forcibly. It is indeed painful, but it reminds us that the success and power that we have should be valued as a temporary loan, not as absolute ownership. Therefore, this verse challenges humans to let go of their sense of ownership and acknowledge that the true source of all goodness is Allah, the true Owner.

In verse 26 of Ali ‘Imran, the statement “in Your hands is all goodness” emphasizes that the essence of all goodness, either humans like or dislike, comes from Allah. This reflects faith that all forms of goodness, morality, and generosity come from the divine source. In this case humans are invited to acknowledge and be grateful for this gift. This statement also emphasizes that Allah’s decision to “bestow” or “revoke” a fragment of His power from human hands is an act for the sake of the well-being for them and universe, even though “revoking” by force of Allah is often assumed by humans as evil.

In the end of verse 26 of Ali ‘Imran, the statement “indeed You are over all things competent” emphasizes the existence of Allah’s absolute and unlimited power. Allah, as the Ruler and Regulator of all things, has power that encompasses infinite wisdom, justice, and strength. Understanding His omnipotence makes humans realize that they are not the true owners, but merely servants who submit to His plans and decisions. In essence, this verse guides humans to humble themselves and realize that everything in this life is under His perfect control. In addition, this verse reinforces the belief that Allah is capable of doing everything that is considered impossible in human eyes, inviting them to grow in trust and reliance on His power that encompasses all aspects of life.

Dr. Sanuri, S.Ag., M.Fil.I., the Head of the Study Program of Ilmu al-Qur’an and Tafsir, Doctoral Program, UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya.