Sources:

  •  The Names & Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) according to the doctorine of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal Jama’ah by Shaikh ‘Umar Sulaiman Al-Ashqar
  • Sharh Lum’atul-I’tiqaad by Imam Muhammad Ibn Salih Al-‘Uthaimeen
  • An-Nahj al-Asmaa Fii Sharh Asmaa; Allah-ul-Husna by Shaikh Muhammad Al-Humood
  • Al-Qawa’id al-Muthlaa Fii Sifat Allah wa Asma’ihil-Husna, by Shaikh Muhammad bin Salih al-‘Uthaimeen.
  • The Creed of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah in regards to Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes, by Shaikh Bin ‘Uthaimeen.

Introduction

To fulfill the true form of worship and servitude and attain the proper direction in our worship, we have to know the One Whom we are worshipping and directing our worship toward – we have to know the Attributes that He has. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has described Himself in His Noble Book with Attributes that He wants us to know and attribute Him with, so that our worship of Him can be proper and as complete as we can make it. If we have correct knowledge and understanding of Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes, then we will never turn to anyone else or direct any form of worship to anyone other than Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).

The reliable and safe way that will lead us to knowledge of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is through Revelation. There is no one more knowledgeable about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) than Allah Himself, just as no one in creation is more knowledgeable about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) than His Messenger Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam). If we want to know our Rabb (Lord) and increase our knowledge about Him, then we have no option other than to do so through those authentic texts that describe Him and speak about His Actions and Names. This is because He is hidden and cannot be seen in the life of this world.

The more we know about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and the verses of His Book, the more we increase in faith. Whoever believes in the Names and Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), understands their meaning and acts according to them, will have his faith increased enormously.

The importance of knowing Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes:

The most honored and best knowledge is to know Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Beautiful Names and Qualities, because they concern and belong to the Most Honored, and Blessed One, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).

There are numerous verses in the Noble Qur’an that mention Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Qualities and His Beautiful Names.

The verses which comprise (include) Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes are higher in status and greater in value than the verses that mention the Resurrection or Paradise, etc. This is why the greatest verse in the Qur’an is Ayatul-Kursi (Al-Baqarah 2:255), and the greatest Surah is Surat-al-Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Qur’an), and Surat-al-Ikhlas (chapter 112) is considered one third of the Qur’an.

Knowing Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes and believing in their meanings will bring fear into the heart of the slave. The one who knows that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is the All-Knower and All-Aware of everything and that nothing is hidden from Him of the actions (deeds) of the slaves, lives in awe of fear (more fearful) of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) (and His punishment), more than the one who does not know this.

The one who knows that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is able to do everything and that nothing can stop Him or make Him fail to do anything, will be more pious and righteous than the person who does not know this. This is why Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said:

“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).” [Fatir 35:28]

Knowing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) leads to loving Him, fearing Him, having hope in Him, putting trust in Him, and returning unto Him; accordingly, the person will achieve success and happiness in this world and in the Hereafter.

Knowing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), His Names and His Attributes, is one of the articles of faith. True faith or belief is not only to say, “I believe in Allah”, but also to know Him well; hence one must exert his utmost effort to know Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and Attributes. The degree of faith will be according to one’s knowledge of his Lord; his faith will increase, as he knows his Lord better. The legal way to know Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), His Names and Attributes is by contemplating the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and understanding the meaning of the verses of the Qur’an.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) created the Jinn and Mankind to worship Him as He stated in Surat Adh-Dhariyat:

“And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and Men except they should worship Me (Alone).” [Adh-Dhariyat 51:56]

And they (Jinn and Mankind) will not be able to worship Him without knowing Him. They should know Him in order to accomplish the purpose and the wisdom of their creation.

Occupying oneself with other than what the slaves are created for is considered negligence and ingratitude towards one’s Lord, whose Grace and Bounty (Blessings) are bestowed upon him continuously.

Abdul-Qasim at-Taymiy al-Isbahani said regarding the importance of knowing Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Beautiful Names: – Some scholars said, ‘The first obligation that Allah obliged His creation with is knowing Him. If the people know Him, they will worship Him accordingly.’” Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said:

“So know (O Muhammad) that ‘La Ilaha illa Allah’ (None has the right to be worshiped but Allah).” [Muhammad 47:19]

It is incumbent on the Muslims to know Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Names and their meanings and magnify Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) as He truly deserves.’ Then he added: ‘If a man intends to get married, people will ask about his name, his father’s and grandfather’s names, and about details of his life. Is not Allah, Who created us, is sustaining us, Whose Mercy we are hoping for and Whose Wrath and Anger we fear, more deserving to be known, including His Names?’” [Al-Hujjah Fil-Mahajjah]

Some basic principles:

  • When we have proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah regarding the Names and Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), we have to accept them literally, without changing their meaning. Changing it from its literal meaning is speaking about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) without knowledge, and this is forbidden:

“Say: ‘The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are the great evil sins, whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) or which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) of which you have no knowledge.’” [Al-A’raf 7:33]

An example of this principle is found in the statement of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala): “Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched.” [Al-Ma’idah 5:64]. What is literally clear from this Ayah is that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has two actual Hands, and that is what we have to accept and believe. If someone were to say that the meaning of His hands is ‘power’, then we must say to him that this is changing the word from its literal meaning (Ta’weel). And this saying is not allowed, because it is speaking about Allah without knowledge

The Names and Attributes of Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) are the best and are perfect, and there are no deficiencies to be found in them in any way whatsoever, for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) says, “To Him belong the Best Names.” [Taha 20:8], and “To Allah belongs the highest description.” [An-Nahl 16:60]

The Names and Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) cannot be restricted to a fixed and definite number. This is based on the Hadith narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan and al-Hakim: “I ask You, O Allah, by each of Your Names by which You have named Yourself or revealed in Your Book. Or (those which You have) taught to one of Your creatures or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Ghaib (Unseen) that is with You. We don’t have any knowledge of what Allah has appropriated for Himself in the knowledge of the Unseen.

The meaning of the Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has 99 Names, (by which) whoever takes account of them (memorizes, learns and supplicates by them) will enter Paradise, should be understood that from among all the Names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) are 99 Names, by which if someone takes account of them, he will enter Paradise. It does not mean that the Names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) are restricted to 99.

This can be understood by the example that if someone says, “I have 100 dollars which I have set aside to give in charity.” This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have other dollars that he will use for something else.

  • We can only know the Names and Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) from Revelation, and nothing can be added to that or taken away from that. We cannot name Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) with that which He did not name Himself, and we cannot reject what He did not name Himself with [Ta’teel].
  • We are not allowed to describe how an Attribute is [Takyeef], because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surah Taha [20:110]: ‘But they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge.” Our minds cannot comprehend the nature of Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Attributes.
  • We are not allowed to compare the Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) to the creation’s attributes [Tamtheel], because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Ash-Shura [42:11]: “There is nothing whatsoever like Him.”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is the Most Perfect, so it is impossible to compare Him to His creation, because that is something deficient and imperfect. 

A valid question

Some think that asking “Where is Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) ?” is wrong. They think that asking this is the same as asking what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is like or when did He begin. It is true that we cannot ask about the nature of Allah or when He began, because the human mind is incapable of comprehending the real essence and attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and how they are. However, it was in fact the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) himself who asked where Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is:

Mu’awiyah ibn al-Hakam As-Sulmi said: “I had some sheep between (the areas) of Uhud and Al-Juwaniah. A servant of mine was taking care of them (the sheep). One day I checked on her and found that the wolf had eaten a sheep. I, being a human and an offspring of Adam, became angry and slapped her. I went to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and related to him what had happened. He portrayed my action as being a major thing. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I free her?’ He said: ‘Call her (to me).’ So I called her. He said to her: ‘Where is Allah?’ She said: ‘Fis-sama’ (above the heavens).’ He said: ‘Who am I?’ She said: ‘The Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘Free her, for she is a believer.’ [Muslim, Abu Dawood and an-Nasa’i]

The master of all Messengers, the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds, himself, asked where Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is, and the answer was given to him, and he confirmed that the servant was a believer. This is not only evidence that this question is a valid, permissible question, but it also informs us of the correct answer.

The only correct answer

According to the correct understanding based on the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)  is above the heavens in a way which suits His Majesty, and He is not in any way contained within His creation, nor is His creation in any way in Him.

  • Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)  is completely separate from His creation;
  • Creation neither surrounds Him nor is above Him in any way;
  • He, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is above all things.

This does not deny that Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Attributes operate throughout His Creation, and nothing escapes His Sight, His Knowledge and His Power. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Sees, Hears and knows all that happens in the universe without having to be inside of it. It is man who has to be present in the world to see, hear, know and affect what takes place in it; however, Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Knowledge and Power have no limits and nothing is outside of His control.

Allah is not everywhere

It was during the Golden Age of the ‘Abbaasid Empire that the concept of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) being everywhere and in everything was introduced. This occurred when philosophy books from India, Persia and Greece were translated. The belief that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is everywhere is very dangerous because it opens the way for the greatest sin in Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Sight, the worship of His creation. Some have claimed that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is more in humans than in animals or plants, and from this it was claimed that Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) was more in some people than in others; a so-called Sufi saint by the name of Ibn ‘Arabee of the 12th century, encouraged his followers to pray to themselves and not to anything outside of themselves, because he believed that God was inside the human being.

This also violates and is Shirk through Tauheed al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat, (the Oneness of Allah’s(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)  Names and Attributes), because it claims for Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) an attribute which doesn’t belong to Him: there is no proof for this belief in the Qur’an nor in the Sunnah. In fact, both the Qur’an and the Sunnah confirm the opposite!

Another objection to the idea that Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) exists everywhere and in everything is that it would mean that His essence could be found in filthy and dirty places, and this is unacceptable.

Clear Proofs

  • From the Qur’an:

The Qur’an describes the “exaltedness” or “highness” of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) in different ways, such as: His being High and Above, by describing how things come down from Him, and go up to Him, and by stating that He is above the heavens. For example:

1. And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves…” [Al-An’aam 6:18]

2.They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.” [An-Nahl 16:50]

3. He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth…” [As-Sajdah 32:5]

4.Verily We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an)…” [Al-Hijr 15:9]

5. “…To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exalt it…” [Fatir 35:10]

6.The angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) ascend to Him…” [Al-Ma’arij 70:4]

7. “Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink with you…?” [Al-Mulk 67:16]

8. Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then ‘Istawa (ascended) upon the Throne (in a manner befitting His Majesty).” [Al-A’raf 7:54]

9. A revelation from Him (Allah) Who has created the earth and high heavens. The Ever-Merciful Istawa (rose, or settled) upon the Throne.” [Ta-Ha 20:4-5]

10. Allah it is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six days. Then He ‘Istawa ‘Ala (rose upon) the Throne.” [As-Sajdah 32:4]

11. And He is the Subduer, above His slaves, and He is the All-Wise, Well Acquainted with all things.” [Al-An’am 6:18]

12. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave the Book and has not placed therein any crookedness.” [Al-Kahf 18:1]

13. Say (O Muhammad): ‘Ruh ul-Qudus (Jibreel) has brought it (the Qur’an) down from your Lord with truth.’” [An-Nahl 16:102]

  • From the Sunnah:

Many reports were narrated “Mutawaatir” (with a large number of narrators at every stage of the Isnaad – chain – such that it is impossible for them all to have agreed on a lie) from the Prophet(Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), describing his words and deeds and things of which he approved. For example, he used to say “Subhaana Rabbi al-A’laa (Glory be to my Lord Most High)” in Sujood, and in some Ahadith he is reported to have said “By Allah, Who is above the Throne.”

Among his deeds is the gesture of pointing up with his finger, when addressing the people in the greatest gathering, on the Day of ‘Arafaah during his Farewell Pilgrimage. He asked the people three times, “Have I not conveyed the message?” and they said, “Yes!” Each time he said, “O Allah, bear witness!”, pointing up to the sky and then at the people.

He also used to raise his hands towards heaven when he made du’a, as reported in many Ahadith.

One such Hadith, the Hadith about the servant has already been mentioned at the beginning of this article.

It must be noted that because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is perfect in His Highness and Power, He cannot reside in anything that He has created. So it cannot be that He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is in Paradise. On the contrary, He is above the Throne which is the roof of al-Firdaws, and al-Firdaws is the highest part of Paradise. The Prophet said, “When you ask Allah for Paradise, ask Him for al-Firdaws, for it is the middle (best) and the highest part of Paradise. And above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari]

There are also many evidences from the Companions of the Prophet(Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam), as well as the second generation of Islam (at-Tabi’een) and the righteous Imams and scholars of Islam, may Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) be pleased with them all, which clearly indicate their understanding that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is above the seventh heaven and Istawa (rose, or settled) upon His Throne in a manner that suits Him. Imam Malik said, when he was asked about how Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) rose over the Throne: “We know that He rose over it, but we don’t know how. Believing it is obligatory and asking about it is Bid’ah.” [Athar Sahih, Adh-Dhahabi in al-Ulow and Abu Na’iem in al-Hilyah]

Even common sense holds that highness is a quality which is associated in people’s minds with perfection; therefore, it should be attributed to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) because every absolute perfection should be attributed to Him.

Allah is with us by His Knowledge

The fact that Allah Istawa (rose over) the Throne, which has been mentioned in the Qur’an seven times, does not negate His having companionship and closeness with His creation. This is because companionship does not mean intimacy and apparent closeness. That Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is with us (by His knowledge), does not mean that He is part of His creation. Allah, the Exalted, is keeping a watch on His creatures from His Throne and He knows everything people do, as He says in the verse:

“He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.” [Al-Hadid 57:4]

A similitude of this is the moon. It is in the heaven, but it stays with the one who is traveling and the one who is not traveling, because of its light and its appearance, no matter where they are. So if such a thing could be true for the moon, which is a small creation of Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), then why will it not be true for that High and Most Informed One Who is encompassing through His Knowledge and Power over all His slaves; He is All-Aware of them; He Hears them; Sees them, and He Knows their secrets and whispers. In fact, the whole universe, all the heavens and the earth, and everything from the earth to the Mighty Throne is before Him in the same way as a small round fruit in our hand. He Knows all about the grains, seeds, waters, insects and minerals that lie on the earth. It cannot be proper to say about Him, Who has such a Grace, that He is with His creation despite being high above it? He is Exalted and Perfect, and is transcendent, separate from His imperfect creation.

In conclusion

The Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah do not allow any straying from what the Messengers preached, as that is the Straight Path. Included in this very important principle are all the statements from the Qur’an and the Sunnah detailing Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)  Names, Attributes, Actions and what should be negated of Him. Included among this is the belief in Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) settling Himself over the Throne in a manner that suits His Majesty, His descending to the lowest heaven, and that the believers will see Him in the Hereafter – as the confirmed, continuous reports have stated. Also included under this principle is that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is close and responds to supplications. What is mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning His closeness and “being with” the believers does not contradict what is stated concerning His transcendence (His existing apart from His creation) and His being above the Creation. For, Glory be to Him, there is nothing at all similar to Him with respect to any of His Names and Attributes.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)  that Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah has ninety-nine Names, one-hundred less one; and he who Ahsaaha (memorized them all by heart, believed in their meanings, and acted accordingly) will enter Paradise.” Something similar has been narrated by Muslim.

Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) (may Allah be merciful to him), categorized & explained the meaning of Ahsaaha as follows:

The first grade (rank): To count the names and memorize them.

The second grade: To understand their meanings.

The third grade: To worship Allah accordingly, by believing in their meanings, acting upon them by calling on Allah by them. e.g., when one is seeking mercy then he will call Allah with His Names Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, when asking for sustenance then one calls on Him by His Names Ar-Raziq and Ar-Razzaq and so on. This is called “Du’aa al-Mas’alah”. Whereas “Du’aa al-‘Ebaadah” is to worship Allah according to these Names e.g., one will return unto Allah in repentance because Allah is At-Tawwab (All-Forgiving, accepts repentance), one remembers Allah, because He is As-Sami’ (All-Hearing), one fears Allah in secret, because He is Al-Latif (Most Kind and Courteous), Al-Khabir (Well-Acquainted with all things), and so on. [Al-Qawa’id al-Muthla Fii Sifat Allah Ta’alaa, by Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen]

The following Hadith indicates that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has more than 99 Names but only 99 Names are known to us. As reported by Ahmed Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim with correct Isnad, and narrated by Ibn Masud that the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Let one who is afflicted and distressed utter this supplication. No slave of Allah ever said this supplication but Allah took away his grief and granted him ease instead: –

اللهم إِنَِي عَبدُك، وَابْنُ عَبدِك، وَابْنُ أَمَتِك، نَاصيتي بِيَدِك، مَاضٍ فِيَّ حُكْمُك، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضاؤُك، أسأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَك، سَمَّيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَك، أَوْ أَنزَلْتَهُ في كِتَابِك، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ أَحَداً مِن خَلقك، أَو اسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِهِ في عِلْمِ الغَيْبِ عِنْدَك، أَن تَجْعَلَ القُرآن رَبيعَ قَلْبي، وَنُورَ صَدْري، وَجَلاء حُزْني، وَذَهابَ هَمِّي.

Allah-humma innni abduka wabnu abdika, wabnu amatik. Nasiati bi-yadik. Maadin fiyya Hukmuk. Adlun fiyya Qadaa’uk. As-Aluka bikulli esmin howa lak, sammyta bihi nafsak, Aow Anzaltahu fi kitabik, Aow Allamtahu ahadan min khalqik, Aow – Esta’tharta bihi fii ilmil-ghaibi ‘Eindak. An Taj’alal – Quran Rabi’a Qalbi, wa noora sadri, wa jalaa-a huzni wa dhahaba hammi.

Oh Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your Hand. Your command over me is forever and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and departure of my sorrow and a release of my anxiety.”

This Hadith indicates that there are Names belonging to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), which He did not reveal in His Book. He concealed them from His creation and did now show them to anyone.

There are a number of Ahadith, which actually mention the ninety-nine names, for example, those by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. In at-Tirmidhi it is narrated from Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)  that the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah has ninety-nine Names, whoever memorizes and comprehends them (Ahsaaha) enters Paradise,” and then it mentions ninety-nine Names ascribed to Allah .

The scholars of Ahadith, (for example Ibn Hajr, Ibn Hazm, Ibn ‘Atiyyah and Ibn Taymiyyah), have judged these Ahadith which specify the ninety-nine Names of Allah, to be weak.

  • The chains of narrators are weak because of the weakness of some narrators;
  • The contents of the Ahadith are weak because of contradiction and variations in them.

When we compare the Hadith as mentioned in Ibn Majah, with the Hadith as mentioned in at-Tirmidhi, the Names vary. It is possible that the addition of the ninety-nine Names ascribed to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) were included in the Hadith by one of the narrators of the Hadith, (for example al-Waleed ibn Muslim), according to his personal opinion, because these names are not related by Bukhari or Muslim.

  • Another proof that the Hadith is weak is that it doesn’t include many Names, which are mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, while; on the other hand it includes names, which are neither mentioned in the Qur’an nor the Sunnah.
  • There is no authentic Hadith reported from the Prophet that specifies the ninety-nine Names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).

Therefore, scholars have tried to discover and list these Names from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. When adding up all the Names which the scholars consider to be the Names of Allah, we can list at least 291. Of these, some have been agreed upon by the scholars, others are the subject of disagreement, and this issue needs more verification insha-Allah.

And Allah knows best.

Explanation of the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah: Allah

Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said that the Name “Allah” is derived from Al-Ilah, which means the deity.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is the One and Only Deity, the One who deserves to be worshipped alone with the utmost love and fear associated with hope, dignity and honor. Accordingly, one is the slave of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and worships Him, according to what His Name comprise of God- ship, which cannot be given to other than Him.

Many narrations have mentioned the greatest Name of the Lord, the Blessed, the Exalted:

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) heard a man saying in his Tashahhud:

اللهم إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ يا اللهُ (الوَاحِد) الأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ الَّذِي لَم يَلِد وَلَم يُولَد وَلَم يَكُن لَهُ كُفُواً أَحَد، أَن تَغْفِر لِي ذُنُوبِي، إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الغَفُورُ الرَّحِيم.                                

“Allahumma inni As’Aluka Ya Allah [Al-Wahid] Al-Ahad As-Samad Allathi Lam Yalid walam Yoolad walam ya kullahu Kufuwan Ahad. An Tagh firli Thunoobi– Innaka Antal-ghafoor-ur-Raheem.

“O Allah! Indeed I ask of You, O Allah (in one narration: by Allah), the One, the Only, the Absolute, who begets not nor is begotten, and there is none like Him, (I ask) that You forgive me my sins; indeed You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

On this the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “You asked Allah by the Name with which if He is asked, He will grant and if He is invoked with, He will respond.”

In another version, he said, “He has been forgiven, he has been forgiven.” [Abu Dawood, an-Nasaai, Ahmed and Ibn Khuzaimah with Sahih Isnad]

Narrated Anas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): I was sitting with the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) in the mosque and a man was praying. The man said (in his prayer): –

اللهم إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنَّ لَكَ الحَمْدُ، لا إِلهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ (وَحْدَكَ لا شَرِيكَ لَكَ)، (المَنَّان)، (يا) بَدِيعُ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضِ، يا ذَا الجَلالِ وَالإِكْرامِ، يا حَيُّ يا قَيُّوم (إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ) (الجَنَّةَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّار).

“Allahumma inni As’Aluka Bi-Anna Lakal-Hamdu Laa Ilaaha Illa Anta [Wahdaka laa Sharika Laka], [Al-Mannan] [Yaa] Badie’us-Samawati wal Ardh, Yaa Dhal-jalaali wal Ikram, Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum, [Inni As’aluka] [Al-Jannata wa A’oudhu Bika Minan-Naar].”

O Allah! Indeed, I ask of You, by the fact that to You belongs all praise; there is no (true) God except You, [You alone, You have no partners;] the Bestower of Favors; [O] Originator of the Heavens and the Earth; O One that is Full of Majesty and Honor; O living One, O Eternal One; [indeed I ask of You] [the Garden, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire].”

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “He has supplicated Allah with His Mightiest Name, with which if He is supplicated, He answers, and with which if He is asked, He gives.” [Ahmed, Abu Dawood, an-Nasai, Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim]

Narrated Abu Umamah that Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Mightiest Name of Allah is (mentioned) in three Surahs (chapters) of the Qur’an, al-Baqarah (chapter 2), Aal Imran (chapter 3), and Surat Taha (chapter 20).” [Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi and at-Tabarani]

It is noted that the Name that is repeated in the earlier mentioned narrations, is “Allah”. In the second Hadith is quoted as “Allahumma” which is basically “Yaa Allah” but when Yaa is deleted from the beginning of the word and the meem has been added to its end, one will get the same meaning which is in “Yaa Allah”. [At-Tafseer al Qayyim pp. 202]

In the three Surahs: – The Name Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is mentioned in Ayatul-Kursi (2:255) as:

“Allahu laa ilaha illa Howal-Hayyul-Qayyum”;

and in Surat Aal-Imran (3:2):

“Allahu laa ilaha illa Howal-Hayyul-Qayyum”;

in Surat Ta-Ha (20: 8):

“Allahu laa ilaha illa howa lahul-asmaau’l-husna”;

Note: –

It is not prescribed to remember Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) with His Name “Allah” alone. Some Muslim sects made for themselves certain remembrances in which they repeat the Name “Allah” with certain numbers such as a thousand times or two thousand or more. Sometimes, they gather in circles (sitting or standing) and repeating the word Ho, Ho, Ho or Ah, Ah, Ah, claiming that (with this Bid’ah) they are remembering Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). Actually, all the remembrances which Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) legislated for us were not in this (denial) form. But all the correct remembrances which are affirmed by him do not contain the Name “Allah” alone. For example, He said: “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allahi wa Bihamdihi’ one hundred times a day, all his sins will be forgiven even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.” [Agreed Upon]

Also his statement: “(There are) two words (expressions or sayings) which are dear to the Most Beneficent (Allah), and very easy for the tongue to say, but very heavy in the balance. They are: “Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi and Subhan-Allahil-Atheem.” [Agreed Upon]

And so on with the rest of the remembrances.

  • The most beloved names to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abdur-Rahman, because of what these two Names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) comprises of most Beautiful Attributes to Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala). This is why adding servitude to the Name (Allah) and (Ar-Rahman) are more beloved to Him than adding (joining) to other than them like Al-Qahir or Al-Qadir.

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