The Names of Allah (Asmâ-ul Husnâ)
Question: What is the meaning of Asmâ-ul Husnâ?
Asmâ-ul Husnâ means Allah ta’âlâ’s Beautiful Names. His 99 Names stated in Tirmudhî are as follows:
1. Allah: It is His personal name, which encompasses the meanings of all His Names. He is only One Allah, besides whom there is no ilâh.
This sacred name is His special name. In this respect, it comprehends all beautiful qualities and Divine attributes contained in His other Names. However, the other Names refer only to the meanings they themselves have. For this reason, not any other Name can substitute for the Name “Allah.” This name cannot be given, even in the figurative sense, to anyone else other than Allah. But it is permissible to give people some of the other Names of His.
2. Ar-Rahmân: In this world, He is the One who is compassionate, merciful, and giver of favors to all beings.
3. Ar-Rahîm: In the Hereafter, He is the One who pities and shows mercy to the Believers only.
4. Al-Malik: He is the One who is the owner of all things and the universe and the One whose dominion and sovereignty are permanent.
5. Al-Quddûs: He is the One who is free from all defects and who is worthy of all praise and holiness.
6. As-Salâm: He is the One who delivers His servants from all danger and the One who greets His fortunate servants in Paradise.
7. Al-Mu’min: He is the One who bestows security and serenity, who protects His creatures, and who gives the light of îmân.
8. Al-Muhaymin: He is the One who watches over and protects His creation and the One who knows everything that every being does.
9. Al-‘Azîz: He is the One who is honorable, who is victorious over everything, and who is irresistible.
10. Al-Jabbâr: He is the One who is supremely great and mighty. He does whatever He wills and makes His creatures do whatever He wills. He is the One whose will cannot be resisted.
11. Al-Mutakabbir: He is the One who is unequalled in greatness.
12. Al-Khâliq: He is the Creator, who creates from nothing. He decrees the states that all beings will undergo.
13. Al-Bâri’: He is the One who creates everything in a perfect manner and in proportion.
14. Al-Musawwir: He is the One who gives shapes to creatures and who creates them with distinctive features.
15. Al-Ghaffâr: He is the One who covers sins, who forgives much, and who protects whomever He wills from sins.
16. Al-Qahhâr: He is the Subduer, the Conquering; He is the One who is mighty in a way that He can do whatever He wants.
17. Al-Wahhâb: He is the One who gives His blessings without charge and who distributes His favors bountifully.
18. Ar-Razzâq: He is the One who provides His creatures with sustenance and who meets their needs.
19. Al-Fattâh: He is the One who removes all kinds of troubles.
20. Al-‘Alîm: He is the One who knows everything, hidden and manifest, which took place and will take place, in the most perfect manner with His eternal and everlasting knowledge.
21. Al-Qâbid: He is the One who restricts the sustenance of whomever He wishes and who takes the souls.
22. Al-Bâsit: He is the One who increases the sustenance of whomever He wishes and who gives the souls.
23. Al-Khâfid: He is the One who lowers disbelievers and sinners.
24. Ar-Râfi’: He is the One who raises in honor and exalts.
25. Al-Mu‘iz: He is the One who gives dignity to whomever He wills.
26. Al-Mudhil: He is the One who makes worthless, despicable, and contemptible whomever He wishes.
27. As-Sami’: He is the One who hears everything best and who accepts supplications.
28. Al-Basîr: He is the One who sees everything best, whether it is revealed or hidden from sight.
29. Al-Hakam: He is the One who is the Absolute Ruler, who judges and reveals the truth, and who is the Owner of Hikmah.
30. Al-‘Adl: He is the One who is All-Just and who does everything properly in all respect.
31. Al-Latîf: He is the One who knows everything and who gives favors.
32. Al-Khabîr: He is the One who knows everything and the hidden aspects in all things.
33. Al-Halîm: He is the One who does not hasten to inflict punishment on those who deserve, the One who treats mildly and the One who has clemency.
34. Al-‘Azîm: He is the One who is unique in greatness. He is the Most High.
35. Al-Ghafûr: He is the One who is the Most Forgiving.
36. Ash-Shakûr: He is the One who gives much thawâb in return for a few good deeds.
37. Al-‘Aliyy: The Highest; the Sublime
38. Al-Kabîr: The Greatest.
39. Al-Hafîz: He is the One who is the Protector of all things.
40. Al-Muqît: He is the Creator of sustenance.
41. Al-Hasîb: He is the One who takes the accounts of His servants best.
42. Al-Jalîl: He is the One who has majesty and grandeur.
43. Al-Karîm: He is the One whose grace, favors, and blessings are bountiful; the One who gives without charge; the One who distributes generously.
44. Ar-Raqîb: He is the One who watches every being and every action at every moment; the One who keeps all actions under His control.
45. Al-Mujîb: He is the One who responds to supplications and wishes.
46. Al-Vâsi’: He is the One who is compassionate and mighty and the One who surrounds everything with His knowledge.
47. Al-Hakîm: He is the One who has hikmah in His every deed and the One who creates everything with hikmah.
48. Al-Wadûd: He is the One who loves goodness, the One who repays those who do good deeds, and the One who is worthy of love.
49. Al-Majîd: He is the One whose blessings and favors are infinite, the One who is the Most Glorious and the One who is worthy of all praise.
50. Al-Bâ‘ith: He is the Resurrector of the dead and the Sender of prophets.
51. Ash-Shahîd: He is the One who is present [exists] and sees all the time and everywhere. But His being present and His seeing are without time and without place, that is, without Him being at any place.
52. Al-Haqq: He is the One whose Being is in existence without ever changing, the One who exists, and the One who reveals the truth.
53. Al-Wakîl: He is the One who brings the deeds of His servants to completion and the One who finalizes in the best way the affairs of those who put their trust in Him.
54. Al-Qawiyy: He is the One who is the Most Powerful and His power never dwindles.
55. Al-Matîn: The Omnipotent.
56. Al-Waliyy: He is the One who is the Friend of Muslims and the One who loves and helps them.
57. Al-Hamîd: The Praiseworthy.
58. Al-Muhsî: He is the One who knows the number of all creatures He created and will create.
59. Al-Mubdi’: He is the One who creates without material or model.
60. Al-Mu‘îd: He is the One who will annihilate the beings He created and the One who will resurrect them again.
61. Al-Muhyî: He is the One who recreates and the One who gives life to His creatures.
62. Al-Mumît: He is the One who has all who are alive taste death.
63. Al-Hayy: He is the One who is alive with a life that has no beginning or end.
64. Al-Qayyûm: He is the One who keeps the creatures in existence and the One who exists with His Dhât [Person].
65. Al-Wâjid: He is the One from whom nothing is hidden and the One who does not need anything.
66. Al-Mâjid: He is the Glorious and the Bountiful.
67. Al-Wâhid: He is the One who has no partner or equal in His Person, in His Attributes, and in His actions; the Unique.
68. As-Samad: He is the One who does not need anything and the One whom all beings are in dire need of.
69. Al-Qâdir: He is the One who is so omnipotent that He does what He wills the way He wills.
70. Al-Muqtadir: He is the One who governs as He wills and the Almighty who creates everything easily.
71. Al-Muqaddim: He is the One who advances and brings forward whomever He wills.
72. Al-Mu’akhkhir: He is the One who degrades, defers, and leaves behind whomever He wills.
73. Al-Awwal: He is the One who is eternal in the past and the One who has no beginning.
74. Al-Âkhir: He is the One who is eternal in the future and the One who has no end.
75. Az-Zâhir: He is the One whose existence is evident and manifest through His creatures and the One who is known with positive proofs.
76. Al-Bâtin: He is the One who is hidden from the image and idea formed by the mind.
77. Al-Wâlî: He is the One who governs the entire universe and the One who regulates the affairs of the created ones.
78. Al-Muta‘âlî: The Most Exalted.
79. Al-Barr: He is the One whose favors and gifts are profuse.
80. At-Tawwâb: He is the One who accepts repentance and who forgives sins.
81. Al-Muntaqim: He is the One who punishes sinners and oppressors.
82. Al-‘Afuww: The Forgiving; the Pardoner of sins.
83. Ar-Ra’ûf: He is the One who is merciful and all-clement.
84. Mâlik-ul Mulk: The Owner of all that exists.
85. Dhul-Jalâli wal Ikrâm: The Lord of majesty, grandeur, glory, perfection, and bounty.
86. Al-Muqsit: He is the One who returns the rights of oppressed people, the One who rules with justice and the One who does everything harmoniously.
87. Al-Jâmi’: He is the One who keeps two opposites together; the One who will gather all creatures together on the Day of Resurrection.
88. Al-Ghaniyy: He is the One who does not need anything, but the One whom all creatures need.
89. Al-Mughnî: He is the One who meets the needs and the One who gives wealth.
90. Al-Mâni’: He is the One who prevents the things He does not will.
91. Ad-Dârr: He is the One who creates harmful, deleterious things.
92. An-Nâfi’: He is the One who creates beneficial things.
93. An-Nûr: He is the One who enlightens the worlds spiritually and the One who gives spiritual enlightenment to whomever He wishes.
94. Al-Hâdî: He is the One who gives hidâyah.
95. Al-Badî’: He is the One who creates wonders without a model or an example. (He is the One who does not have a partner or a likeness.)
96. Al-Bâqî: He is the One who exists forever and has no end.
97. Al-Wârith: He is the One who is the Real Owner of all things.
98. Ar-Rashîd: He is the One who does not need guidance; the One who shows the right way.
99. As-Sabûr: He is the One who does not hasten to mete out punishments.
Using other names
Question: Is it jâiz [permissible] to call Allahu ta’âlâ with any names other than His 99 Names? For example, is it permissible to use such names as Padishah, Sultan, Chalap or Hudâ?
It is permissible to use them outside of worships, but they cannot be used as worships.
It is written in the explanation of Birgivî Vasiyyetnâmesi that the Names of Allahu ta’âlâ are tawqîfî, that is, it is necessary to call Him with the names which Islam has dictated and referred to and that He cannot be called with names other than Asmâ-ul Husnâ.
It is written in Sharh-i Mawâqif as follows: “According to the majority of savants, it is not permissible to use a name with a meaning suitable for Allahu ta’âlâ. None but only 99 Names can be used.” That is, it comes to mean that there are scholars, though few in number, who say that it is permissible to use other names with meanings suitable for Allahu ta’âlâ.
The names Mawlâ, Rabb, Nasir, Ghalib, and Akram have been used in the Qur’ân al-karîm as the names of Allahu ta’âlâ, though they are not included in Asmâ-ul Husnâ. Also, such names as Hannan,Mannan, and Jamîl were used in hadîth-i sharîfs. (Farâid)
Quddûsi Effendi, the poet of tasawwuf, says:
O very compassionate Padishah!
I came to Thee with my misdeeds.
I have committed myriads of sins.
I came to Thee with my misdeeds.
Yunus Emre (a Turkish poet) used the name Chalap and other names outside of worships, meaning “ilâh.” Similarly, the words ruler andsultan were used in many Islamic parables. But you must not use any names other than the ones used by scholars.
Memorizing the Asma-ul Husnâ
Question: A friend of mine said:
“In a hadîth transmitted from Abû Huraira, our Prophet was claimed to have said, ‘He who memorizes (ihsâ) these 99 Beautiful Names of Allahu ta’âlâ enters Paradise, attains endless bliss.’ However, it is impossible for our Prophet to impose such a limitation on Allah. Therefore, this hadîth is not authentic. Instead, our Prophet may have said so, ‘He who memorizes 99 Names from among the Names of Allah enters Paradise, attains endless bliss.’” Is there any truth in his rationale?
There is no truth in it, because this hadîth-i sharîf is written in the three valuable books of Kutub-i Sitta, namely, Bukhârî, Muslim, andTirmudhî. Considering this hadîth-i sharîf as not authentic comes to mean considering these three great scholars as ignorant.
This point was clarified in religious books. The book Belief and Islamwrites: “Allahu ta’âlâ’s Names are infinite. It is well-known that He has one thousand and one Names; that is, He revealed one thousand and one of His Names to human beings. Ninety-nine of them are calledAsmâ-ul Husnâ.
That means to say that Allah has one thousand and one Names, but ninety-nine of them are called Asmâ-ul Husnâ. Kâdizâda Ahmad Effendi, too, wrote in his explanation of Birgivî Vasiyyetnâmesi: “The ninety-nine Names of Allahu ta’âlâ are called Asmâ-ul Husnâ.”
Contrary to what your friend said, it is necessary to memorize (ihsâ) 99 Names dictated by our Master the Prophet, not 99 Names from among Allah’s Names. Otherwise, Allahu ta’âlâ has numerous Names. What is advised is to memorize (ihsâ) the stated 99 Names, not randomly selected 99 Names from among His Names. Herein ihsâ means memorizing these 99 Names with their meanings and implementing them in one’s daily life. The one who does so surely enters Paradise, attains endless bliss.
Let’s give some examples:
Al-Karîm: He is the One whose favors, blessings, and gifts are bountiful. Likewise, a Muslim should be generous and benevolent.
Al-Ghaffâr: He is the One who covers sins and whose forgiveness is much. So Muslims should forgive one another for their faults.
Ar-Razzâq: He is the One who provides all creatures with sustenance and who meets their needs. Therefore, when you read this Name of His, you should not worry about your sustenance.
Al-Mutakabbir: He is the One who is unequalled in greatness. When you read this Name, you should ponder over Allahu ta’âlâ’s almightiness and greatness, and as a result, you should avoid being conceit.
In the same way, while reading the Beautiful Names of Allah, you should contemplate their meanings and apply them in practice.
Your friend’s reading a hadîth-i sharîf and misunderstanding it show that one cannot learn Islam from tafsîrs, ma’als or hadîth-i sharîfs. When acting in the hope that one will learn the religion, one may misunderstand it and may become an infidel. Therefore, we must try hard to learn our religion from accurately written ‘ilm-i hâl books.Endless Bliss, the most valuable ‘ilm-i hâl book, which contains translated articles from the precious books of Ahl as-Sunnat scholars and which was based on naql, writes in its final word:
Ahl as-Sunnat scholars, who are awliyâ’, being specialists of the heart and the soul, have picked out these hadîths the spiritual medicines which are suitable for the nature of each individual, for his or her special illness, and for the time’s zulmat and fesâd. Rasûlullah, being the chief doctor, prepared hundreds of thousands of medicines for the world’s pharmaceutical store. Awliyâ are like his assistant doctors who distribute these ready-made medicines in accordance with the diseases of the patients. Since we do not know our own disease or understand its appropriate cure, if we attempt to look for a medicine for ourselves among hundreds of thousands of hadîths, we may, having an allergy, suffer harm instead of getting better, thus getting our desert for being ignorant. It is for this reason that it was declared in a hadîth: “He who interprets the Qur’ân in accordance with his own understanding becomes a disbeliever.” Since lâ-madhhabîs and the like cannot understand this subtlety, they say, “All people should understand their faith by themselves by reading the Qur’ânand hadîths. They should not read the books of the four madhhabs.” By saying this they prevent the books of the Ahl-i sunnat savants from being read. So they drag Muslims into perdition.
He knows fully and perfectly
Question: Is it proper to render the Name Al-Alîm, which is one of the Beautiful Names of Allah, as the One who has exact knowledge? Similarly, is it proper to render the Name al-Basîr as the One sees exactly?
The Name Al-Alîm appears in the Qur’ân al-karîm more than 100 times. We have not come upon such an expression as “the One who has exact knowledge” in any tafsîr books. It is explained nearly in all tafsîr books as “the One who knows fully and the One who knows the inside and the outside of all things in the most perfect manner.” The meaning of Alîm is the One who knows. What does He know? It means that He knows everything. How does He know? It means that He knows fully and best. The brief meaning of Alîm is the One who knows everything fully and best.
Al-Basîr means the One who sees. What does He see? He sees everything, whether it is hidden or manifest. How does He see? He sees the inside and the outside of everything without an organ. The expression “the One who sees exactly” remains somewhat weak. So it is more proper to say “the One who sees everything best, whether it is hidden or manifest.”
The Name Al-Haqq
Question: Some people say, “Allah does not have such a name as Haqq, so it causes shirk (polytheism) to call Him Haqq.” But we say “Janâb-i Haqq.” Is it shirk?
No, it is not shirk. That the Name al-Haqq is one of the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf written in Tirmudhî.
Al-Haqq: He is the One whose Being is in existence without ever changing, the One who exists, and the One who brings out the truth.
The Name Al-Barr
Question: Is the Name Al-Barr from Asmâ-ul Husnâ spelled Al-Birr? What is the difference between these two?
This word is spelled BR. It is pronounced “bar” or “bir” or “bur.” Birrmeans goodness. It appears many times in the Qur’an: al-Baqara: 44,177,189; Âl-i ‘Imrân: 92; al-Mâida: 2.
In the 28th âyat of Sûrat-ut-Tûr it appears as “al-barr-ur-rahîm,” which is the Barr of Asmâ-ul Husnâ. This is spelled Barr. Barr also means “land.” In the 96th âyat of Sûrat-ul-Mâida, the expressions sayd-ul bahri (sea hunt) and sayd-ul barri (land hunt) appear. It appears with the meaning “land” in the following sûras: 6:59; 6:63; 6:97; 10:22; 17:67; 7:68; 17:10; 27:63; 29:65-66; 30:41; 31:32.
Burr means wheat. A hadîth-i sharîf states, “When one sells wheat for wheat, if one of them is more than the other, it causes fâidh[interest].” Herein there is the expression “wal burru bil burri.”(Tirmudhî)
Then, birr means goodness. Barr is a name from Asmâ-ul Husnâ. It also means “land.”
Wâhid and Ahad
Question: What is the difference between Wâhid and Ahad, which mean “one”?
Yes, both of them mean “one.” One of them is the Name related to His Atrributes. The other is the Name related to His Dhât [Person]. Wâhid is Allahu ta’âlâ’s one of the Names related to His Attributes, and it is one of His Names stated in Asmâ-ul Husnâ. Wâhid means the One who is one and has no likeness or a partner in His Dhât, Attributes, and Actions. The purport of an âyat is as follows:
(Surely your Ilâh is Wâhid, is one.) [Sûrat-ul-Saffât, 4]
As for Ahad, it is His name of Dhât. The purport of an âyat is as follows:
(Say: Allah is Ahad, is one.) [Sûrat-ul-Ikhlâs, 1]
Here it means that He is one in terms of His Dhât.
You must not understand the word one here as one in the sense of number. If it is understood so, then Allah is considered as material or an object. But Allah does not resemble anything. Whatever you imagine is a creature. He is different from any mental image. The two sects called Mujassima and Mushabbiha consider Allah to be walking, sitting, material and an object. The purport of an âyat is as follows:
(There is nothing whatsoever like Him. He does not resemble anything.) [Sûrat-ush-Shûrâ, 11]
Reverence for the Name of Allah
Question: Is it permissible to write or to utter the Name Allah without adding a word of reverence?
Salaf-i Salihîn would utter or write with words of reverence. It is bid’at to omit it. Whenever writing or uttering His Name, you should add an honorific phrase for once at least. Therefore, we should make a habit of saying “Allahu ta’âlâ.”
May Allah ta’âlâ be pleased with you
Question: If we say, “May Allah be pleased with you,” are we considered to have omitted the honorific phrase?
Yes. Instead, you should say, “May Allahu ta’âlâ be pleased with you.”
Question: In religious writings, should we write honorific expressions every time the names appear? Is it appropriate to abbreviate them, such as (JJ), (SAW), or (RA)?
The following is written in religious books:
Whenever reading, writing, uttering, or hearing the name of Allahu ta’âlâ, it is wâjib to say or to write when it first occurs, and it is mustahab if it is used more than once to say or to write a word of reverence, such as Subhânallah, Tabârakallah, Jalla Jalâluh, or Ta’âlâ. For a person who hears the name of Rasûlullah (sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam) for the first time in his or her lifetime, it is fard to say (the prayer called) salawât once. Whenever reading, writing, uttering, or hearing his name, it is wâjib to say salawât for the first time and mustahab if his name is repeated more than once.
It is not appropriate to write initials, such as (j.j.), (s.a.w.), and (r.a.). The book Mir’ât-i Kâinât says:
“Ignorant and lazy people abbreviate words of reverence and write only initials. This is not advisable. We should carefully avoid this.”
It is dangerous to belittle them
Question: Abbreviations have been used everywhere. When (J.J.) appears while we are reading a piece of writing, we do not read it as letters, but read it loudly as Jalla Jalâluhu. We are wasting time discussing such matters. According to Islam, such matters are not worth a fig.
To consider the advice “We should write the name of Allahu ta’âlâ correctly and should not write (J.J.)” as being not worth a fig is very dangerous, which may endanger one’s îmân. It is perilous to take a rule of Islam lightly. Religious books say that it should not be written that way. However, today’s people abbreviate it. Their being written so is not standard. What is standard is what Islamic scholars communicated. If it were not worth a fig, Islamic scholars would not have mentioned it in their books. Just as a person obtains îmân with a statement, so a person may lose îmân with a statement. A wife is divorced with one statement. A girl becomes the wife of a man with one statement.
Writing in lower case
Question: Because Allah is the greatest, is it kufr [disbelief] or harâm to write the first letter of the name Allah in lower case as allah?
It is not kufr, harâm, or makrûh. Indeed, there are not capitals in Islamic letters, so the name Allah is written in lower case in the Holy Qur’an. Since conventional usage in English calls for the capitalization of the first letter of a proper name, you should write it in upper case and avoid being regarded as something of an oddity.
Omitting reverence expressions
Question: While we are talking or giving a sermon, is it appropriate to say, “Allah says that …”?
It is not appropriate, and it is an irreverent act. It is not appropriate to say Allah ta’âlâ, either. You should say Allahu ta’âlâ. Whenever uttering, hearing, or writing the name of Allahu ta’âlâ, it is wâjib to say or to write when it first occurs, and it is mustahab if it is used more than once to say or to write a word of reverence, such as Jalla-jalâluhor ta’âlâ. As for uttering a certain prayer called the salawât when hearing the name of Rasûlullah, the same rule applies. (Radd-ul-mukhtâr)
Question: Yezdan is said to have been the name of the god of good of the Magians. The situation being so, is the statement “Hadrat Yezdan promises victory in the Qur’ân” that appears in a mehter march (a march composed by Ottoman Army Band) appropriate?
It is not an inconvenience.
Zerdusht (Zoroaster or Zarathustra), [the founder of magi, the basic religious system of ancient Persia], chose two of their idols, Yezdân (Ormuzd or (Ahura Mazda) and Ehremen (Ahriman), as two hypostases, and established an unprecedented system of belief which was based on a curious conflict between Yezdân, the god of light and good, and Ahriman, the god, or spirit, of darkness and evil. (Could Not Answer)
Yezdân means ilâh, Mawlâ. They gave this beautiful name to their idol. However, their naming does not cause the name Yezdân to be bad. They could have given the name Mawlâ to their idols. In such a case, it would not cause the name Mawlâ to be bad.
A work of art
Question: Is it appropriate to say works of art for the universe and beings in nature and to say an artist for Allahu ta’âlâ?
The entire universe and all beings in nature are works of art. It is not an inconvenience to say so. A leaf is an astounding factory. A grain of sand or a living cell is an exhibition of fine art, which science has explored to only a small extent today. What we boast about as a scientific finding and accomplishment today is the result of being able to see and copy a few of these fine arts
Each work of art has an owner. Allahu ta’âlâ, too, is the Owner of the entire universe. His creating something is not like an artist’s making a work of art. The Creator of this work is Allahu ta’âlâ as well. When Allahu ta’âlâ wants to create something, He only says to it “Be!” and it comes into existence instantly. It is not permissible to say “an artist” for Allahu ta’âlâ.
Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî declares:
The names of Allahu ta’âlâ are tawqîfî. That is, they are dependent on the dictation of the Owner of the religion. Names that are not dictated by Islam cannot be said. We should not say it no matter how perfect and beautiful a name it is. (Second Volume, 67th Letter)