Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII | Part XXIX | Part XXX | Part XXXI | Part XXXII | Part XXXIII | Part XXXIV | Part XXXV | Part XXXVI | Part XXXVII | Part XXXVIII | Part XXXIX | Part XL | Part XLI | Part XLII | Part XLIII | Part XLIV | Part XLV | Part XLVI | Part XLVII | Part XLVIII | Part XLIX | Part L | Part LI | Part LII | Part LIII | Part LIV | Part LV | Part LVI | Part LVII| Part LVIII | Part LIX | Part LX | Part LXI | Part LXII | Part LXIII | Part LXIV | Part LXV |Part LXVI |Part LXVII | Part LXVIII | Part LXIX | Part LXX | Part LXXI | Part LXXII | Part LXXIII
This series began on the 29th of December 2011, and last week was its final article. Elsewhere I have written about al-Jameel, al-Jabbar, and al-Majeed; in total this adds up to a little over 99 Names.
The Names that I have written about here do not follow the ones that we know conventionally, which are based on a famous, albeit weak, hadith (narration of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him). ‘Weak’1 does not necessarily mean wrong, but some scholars contest some of the Names contained therein and have devised other ways to ascertain which of these are authentic. All of the Names discussed here are considered Names and/or attributes by at least some reputable scholars, and are found in the Qur’an and/or hadith.
If there is a difference of opinion on the Names, then how do we know which Names were meant in the hadith that encourages us to learn the Names of Allah as a way of entering Paradise? The hadith states:
“Allah has ninety-nine names and whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
One might say that we should just stick to the list as found in Tirmidhi; however, in the Qur’an Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), tells us that the Prophets call on Him numerous times with Rabby, and that Name is not found in that hadith. Moreover, there are many supplications from the authentic sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) in which the Prophet ﷺ (peace be unto him) calls on Allah with other Names not found in the Tirmidhi hadith, such as al-Mannan. The other opinion is to use the Names found in the Qur’an and the authentic sunnah, yet those amount to more than ninety-nine.
Thus, what al-Khattabi and others have said is that Allah (swt) has more than 99 Names, and the proof of this is in the Prophet’s ﷺ du`a’ (supplication):
“…I ask You by every Name that You have named Yourself, revealed in Your Book, taught any one of Your creation or kept unto Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with You…” (Ahmad)
By saying that whoever memorizes 99 Names will enter Paradise, the meaning is whoever memorizes any 99 of His many Names will enter Paradise. If I tell you that I am going to give you 1000 of my dollars, it does not necessarily mean that I only have 1000 dollars. It means I have more, but I am going to give you 1000 of them. Similarly, Allah (swt) has many Names, some which we do not know, but if we learn 99 of them, then we will attain Jannah (paradise), insha’Allah (God willing). While a few have interpreted ‘learn’ to mean simply memorize, other scholars have said that this cannot be. A good person can memorize these Names, as can a bad person, a Muslim and a non-Muslim, one who understands and one who does not. Ibn al-Qayyim stated that preserving them means three things:
1) Knowing the Names and the number of Names
2) Understanding what they mean (in their many meanings) and what they indicate
3) Calling Allah using them, as He says in the Qur’an: “To God belong the Best Names, so call on Him using them…” (Qur’an, 7:180) Calling on Allah can be simply for praise and worship, as well as for asking for one’s needs.
Thus it is the person who learns them, implements their understanding and connects to Allah through them; this has been the purpose of this series. As Ali bin Abi Taleb radi Allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) taught us:
“The basis of this religion is knowing Him.”
You may see my name as the author of these articles, but know that they are simply a collection of thoughts and really a summary from far more majestic sources. I would like to acknowledge these sources:
- The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (English)
- Asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā by Sheikh Muhammad Ratib al-Nabulsi (Arabic; some articles translated into English)
- Sharḥ Ibn al-Qayyim li Asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā – a compilation by Dr. Omar Suleiman al-Ashqar on Ibn Al-Qayyim’s sayings on the Names of Allah (Arabic)
- Fiqh al-Asmāʾ al-ḥusnā by Sheikh Abdulrazzaq al-Badr (Arabic)
- Asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā: Jalālahā wa Laṭāif Iqtirānihā wa thamarātihā fī ḍawʾ al-Kitāb wal-Sunnah by Sheikh Maher Muqaddim
- “Bismika Naḥyā” by Dr. Amr Khaled (Ramadan TV series on the Names of Allah, Arabic)
- Audio lectures by Sheikh Salman al-Odah (Arabic)
- Audio lectures by Sheikh Waseem Yousef (Arabic)
- Notes from classes with Sheikh Alaeddine el-Bakri and Sheikh Akram Nadwi
Hours were spent reading books and PDF files, attending classes, listening to lectures, and reflecting on these Names. It is virtually impossible to extract all of the secrets behind Allah’s beautiful Names, but my intent here was merely to open a door to connecting to Allah (swt) through knowing Him. In this regard, I know there are many shortcomings and I take full responsibility for them.
Jazakum Allah khairan (may God reward you with good) for reading through this series, I truly pray that it has been of benefit. Any good is solely from Allah (swt), the One whose Names we have experienced through this journey. Any and all mistakes are from myself.
Please pray for all the teachers above who have taught us and helped us to understand His Names. I am indebted to them.