Allah (SwT) has said,
“He is the First and the Last and the Ascendant (over all) and the One Who knows all hidden things, and He is Cognizant of all things” (Qur’an, 57:3).
Al-Batin means: the One Who is obscured from the eyes of His creatures, the Hidden One due to His Essence that defies visions, minds and intellects. He is immaterial, not a thing, a matter; none can truly define Him through our limited human vocabulary and capacity.
The Messenger of Allah (S) has supplicated thus:
Lord! God of the heavens and of the great Throne.Our Lord and the Lord of everything. The One Who splits the seed and the date-stone. The one Who has revealed the Torah, the Gospel, and the Holy Qur’an. I seek refuge with You against the evil of every being whose forelock is in Your Hands. Lord! You are the First; there is nothing before You.
And You are the Last; there is nothing after You. You are the Apparent; there is nothing beyond You, and You are the Hidden One; there is nothing that can reach You. I plead to You to pay our debts on our behalf, and to save us from [the humiliation of] want.
He is al-Zahir through sufficiency, al-Batin by objectivity, al-Zahir due to His bounties, al-Batin through His mercy. He is the Apparent One Who subdues everything, the Hidden One Who knows the truth about everything, the One Who is Apparent for everything by way of convincing proofs, the One Who is Hidden from any physical appearance.
Glory, then, to the One Who has obscured Himself from all creation by His light, Who is Hidden from them because of the intensity of His appearance.
The Almighty has said,
“... and made His favors to you complete outwardly and inwardly” (Qur’an, 31:20).
Apparent are things we can observe, see, witness, notice, while hidden are things with which we are not familiar. He has also pointed out to the fact that
They are apparent to the senses, defying our intellect.
Man is a manifestation of the Attribute al-Zahir and, at the same time, is also a manifestation of the other Attribute al-Batin. Man, physically, is a manifestation of the Apparent Light, and spiritually a manifestation of the Hidden One, al-Batin. Whenever a servant of Allah (SwT) repeats the Attribute al-Batin, his soul will feel submissive to its Creator, and he will realize that he, on his own, is really incapable of doing anything at all; so, it is then that the Truth will be Merciful unto him and will grant him purity of both body and soul.