اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ۚ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
Allah: There is no god but He, the Alive, the All Sustaining. Neither doze overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth. Who can intercede with Him without His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them. And they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His kursi (chair) extends to the Heavens and to the Earth, and it does not weary Him to look after them. And he is the High, the Supreme. (Verse 255)
The merits of Ayat-al-Kursi
This is the greatest verse of the noble Qur'an. ahadith carry statements featuring its wonderful merits and blessings. It appears in the Musnad of Ahmad that the Holy Prophet (SM) has said that this verse is the most meritorious of all. According to another hadith, the Holy Prophet (SM) asked Sayyidna 'Ubayy ibn Ka'b رضي الله عنه : 'Which is the greatest ayah (verse) of the Qur'an?' Sayyidna 'Ubayy ibn Ka'b رضي الله عنه said: Syah al-Kursi. Approvingly, the Holy Prophet (SM) said: 'O Abu al-Mundhir, may Allah bless you in your knowledge.'
Sayyidna Abh Dharr رضي الله عنه asked the Holy Prophet (SM) : 'O Messenger of Allah, which is the greatest ayah (verse) of the Qur'an?' He said : 'Ayat-al-Kursi. (Ibn kathir from Ahmad in Al-Musnad).
Sayyidna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه has reported the Holy Prophet (SM) saying: 'There is a verse in Surah Al-Baqarah which is the Sayyidah (the Chief) of the verses of the Qur'an. The Satan leaves the house where it is recited.'
According to a hadith in al-Nasa'i': the Holy Prophet said: If someone recites Ayat-al-Kursi after every fard salah, nothing stops him from entering Paradise except death.' It means that, immediately after death, this person will start witnessing the traces of Paradise and its comfort and tranquillity.
This verse describes the Oneness of Allah's being and attributes in a unique manner He is living, He hears and sees, He speaks, He is self-existent, He is eternal and everlasting, He is the innovator and creator of the entire universe, He is above changes and effects, He is the master of the whole universe, He is so exalted in His majesty that no one can speak before Him without His permission; He is the wielder of such absolute power that the tremendous function of creating the universe, sustaining it and making it work steadily, does not cause him to tire or relax. So all-encompassing is His knowledge that not the minutest possible atom or drop, open or hidden, could stay out of it. This is, in brief, the core sense of the verse. Now let us take up the meanings of its words in some details.
This verse has ten sentences. The first sentence is: اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ : 'Allah: There is no god but He.' The word, "اللَّهُ (Allah) is like a proper noun for Allah's being. It means: 'the Being who combines all perfections and is free of all shortcomings.' 'There is no god but He' explains this Being. It says that there is absolutely nothing worth worshipping except this Being.
The second sentence is: الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ : 'The Alive, the All-Sustaining.' The word 'الْحَيُّ means 'the living' in Arabic. Out of the Divine names, the introduction of this word is to emphasize that He is Ever-living and Ever-lasting. He is above and beyond death. The word الْقَيُّومُ is derived from Qiyam which means 'to stand' and qa'im refers to 'one who stands.' The words, Qayyum and Qayyum are forms of exaggeration. They mean: 'one who himself stands firmly and keeps others sustained and supported, all simultaneously.' Qayyum is an attribute of Allah Almighty with which no created being can be associated, for what depends on others for its own existence and survival can hardly be expected to support something else. Therefore, a human being should not be called, 'Qayyum'. It is not permissible. People who corrupt the name, 'Abdul-Qayyum (the slave of the Qayyum) by casually using just the second part Qayyum, commit a grave error resulting in their sinfulness.
The combination of Hayy and Qayyum from among the attributive names of Allah Almighty is الاسم الاعظم (al-ism al-a'gam: the Great Name) according to several revered elders. Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه says: 'There was a time during the Battle of Badr when I wished I could see what the Holy Prophet & was doing. On arrival, I saw him in the state of sajdah, (the prescribed prostration) constantly saying, يا حي يا قيوم يا حي يا قيوم The third sentence is: لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ :'Neither doze overtakes Him nor sleep.' The word (سِنَةٌ sinatun) denotes drowsiness which is the preliminary effect of coming sleep, while the word نَوْمٌ : nawm refers to full sleep. The sense of the sentence; is that Allah Almighty is above and beyond states of drowsiness or sleep. When the word, Qayyum, appearing in the previous sentence; told man that Allah is holding in perfect working unison the whole universe, which includes in itself, all skies and earths and all there is in them one could stray on to the idea, naturally so, in view of man's instinctive inquisitiveness, that the sacred 'Being' doing such a stupendous task must, at some time, feel tired, and need due moments of rest and sleep. In this second sentence of the text, man, who has limited knowledge and insight, and limited power, was warned that he should not measure Allah on his analogy or that of other created beings, never taking Him as similar to one's own self. He is above and beyond similarities and analogies. His power is absolutely .perfect before which these doings are neither difficult nor tiresome and that His sacred being is above and beyond all sense-effects, weariness, exhaustion, drowsiness and sleep.
The fourth sentence is: لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ : 'To Him belongs what is in the havens and what is in the earth.' The letter (lam) appearing in the very beginning, has been used to denote ownership. Thus it means that everything on the earth or in the heavens is all owned by Allah Almighty. He is the authority, and may do whatever He deems fit with them.