The Methodology of Studying the Names of Allah – 16th Oct. 2011
Posted by Enlightenment into Islam Center
According to the Manhaj of Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al Jama’aa, the Methodology in Studying the Names of Allah are:
1- Find the Name from the Book of Allah (or Sunnah) because the sources for Knowing the Names of Allah is His Book (The Qur’an) and the Sunnah. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to be sure that this Name is affirmed to Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala). Also it is advised to use the Qur’an dictionary to find all the verses where any particular name has been mentioned.
Note: There are Names that can be shared between the Lord and the slave. i.e. The Lord is attributed with being ‘Shakoor’ and so can the slave be attributed with being ‘Shakoor’. For example, In Surah al-Isra:
إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَبْداً شَكُوراً
” O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.”
2- When you search for the Name in the Dictionary of Qur’an, you will find the Names are mentioned alone (solitary, single) and in other positions come joined with other Names such as:
الغفور الرحيم . السميع البصير , الفتاح العليم
Every Name of Allah (Azza wa Jal) implies a perfect Attribute for Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala). when it joins with another Name. This increases the meaning of the Name in Beauty. All the Names of Allah are Husna – حسنا (Perfect). And when they are joined, this will increase the meaning in Husna (Perfectness) and add an extra beautiful meaning to the Name.
How would you know that the meaning has increased in Beauty?
When we understand the meaning of the Name from the speech (Book) of Allah. For example, Every Name indicates a perfect attribute.
Al-Aziz implies ‘Izzah (Might, power, etc)
Al-Hakeem implies Hukum (Judgment) and Hikmah (Wisdom)
Joining them both together will give and imply an extra meaning an extra Perfect Attribute) which is that Allah’s Might is joined with Wisdom.
His Might never includes injustice, or oppression, or wrong action as it usually happens from the Powerful people (those of high rank). One of them ‘pride’ in sin could hold him and make him to oppress and act wrongly.
Also His judgement, Command and Wisdom are joined with His Perfect Power and Might [His Command is executive, no one can stop it or resist it] contrary to the Command of the human and his wisdom which is blemished with humiliation
Next step is to write the verses where the Name has been mentioned alone and the verses where the name has been joined with another name. Note down how many times the Name appears single and how many times it appears joined.
3- To know the meaning of the Name:
- Linguistically: This is because the Qur’an is revealed in Arabic language. we have to know the meaning of the name in the Arabic Language. This can be done by using the Arabic – Arabic dictionary such as ‘Lisan al-Arab’. (After finding the root of the name, then look for the name in the dictionary)
- From Tafseer: You have to understand the meaning of the Name related to the context of the verse. For example, In Surat An-Noor, Why did Allah end the verse with the Name التواب الرحيم
Therefore we have to go through all the verses in the Qur’an that mention this Name and study them, in order to know the complete meaning of the Name.
Some Contraventions concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah
Bear in mind that a mistake in the Names of Allah (Azza wa Jal) is not like a mistake in any other Name. This is because the Names of Allah are Names of the Glorified Lord, the Great Creator. Any mistake concerning them is considered a deviation from the religion.
Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) warned those who practice deviation concerning His Names [i.e. use them improperly or deny them] that they will be recompensed for what they have been doing. Evidence: Surat al-A’raaf, Verse 180.
Therefore, every mindful person should not speak about the Names of Allah except
- 1- with knowledge, and
- 2- should not affirm anything concerning them except with evidences and proofs from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
- 3-Whoever talks about the Names of Allah without knowledge, he has gone astray.
We will point out some of the conventions concerning the Names of Allah (Azza wa Jal) in order for the Muslim to be aware of them and to be cautious of them for the sake of his religion and for the sake of Magnifying Allah’s (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) Names, giving respect and regards to their sanctity.
1- Lately, it is noticed that a pamphlet or leaflet has been distributed amongst the public, its writer (author) claims that every Names of Allah has a healing characteristic for a certain sickness. This is falsehood for which Allah has not sent down any authority, nor an evidence or proof is set upon it. Even in the legal prescribed remembrances and Ruqya that was quoted by the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa salam) no such matter, except a complete sentence, and not repeated words in this forged way.
The person who had committed such an act is condemned of two crimes:
- making people practice this innovated matter
- Turning the people away from the legal and prescribed remembrances and legal Ruqya from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
2- Making some of the Names of Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) as charms, amulets, Talisman to be hung in the cars, or houses for the purpose of protection from evil eye, envy and so forth.
This action has not been legislated in the religion because there is no evidence from the Book or Sunnah for it. Contrary to that, the texts (in the Qur’an and Sunnah) indicate on the prohibition of doing such as actions, as the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):
Whoever hangs a charm (i.e. putting on himself or others), may Allah not fulfil (his objective)for him.” [Ahmed]
3-One of the contraventions is to put the Names of Allah in a decorative portrait, or tablet to decorate the walls and beautify the rooms. The Names are written in an embellished writing (frame) and shapes, such that impresses whoever sees it.
However, whoever is seeking increase in faith and reformation in deeds, then he will not obtain it by this way or weak which is not prescribed in the religion.
4- One of the mistakes concerning the Names of Allah (Azza wa Jal) is to think that Ihsaa’ of the Names of Allah which is mentioned in the Hadeeth: “Verily Allah has 99 Names, one hundred minus one, whoever Ahsaaha will enter paradise” is by making it as a daily word (Remembrance) which he reads once in the morning and once in the evening, or he reads them after the obligatory prayers, or repeating certain Names 10 times or 100 times and so on. This is all Bid’ah which there is no evidence for it.
Ibn ul Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) in the Book “Al-Fawa’id” mentioned the meaning of Ahsaaha:
- To memorize and know the Names
- To understand their meaning and what they imply
- Calling unto Allah by them [Du’a al-Mas’alah and Du’a al- ‘Ebadah]
5- Some people may transgress concerning the Names and claim that each and every Name of Allah has specialities and secrets.And every Name has a spiritual servant who serves the one who keeps on remembering Allah by that Name.
Some of these who adopted this way of Dhikr (remembrance) claim that by Allah’s Names they were able to discover the secrets of the unseen matters. Even some of them claim that with him is the greatest Name of Allah with which he opens all the closed matters, and able to do extraordinary matters. He believes he has privileges which others do not have.
These are all clear lies and manifest falsehood, forging lie against Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) and His religion without evidence.
6- One of the mistakes concerning this matter is that the slave directs his call or worship to the Name itself, this is wrong. Such as to say “I worship the Name of my Lord or I prostate to the Name of my Lord or to say, “O the Name of my Lord, show me Mercy!”
Therefore, when Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) revealed Surat al-Alaa, Verse 1 upon the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) :
“Exalt the Name of your Lord, the Most High”
and His Statement in Surat al-Waqi’ah, Verse 74:
“So Exalt the Name of your Lord, the Most Great.”
The Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) acted upon this command by saying in his sujood:
سبحان ربي الأعلى
Subhana Rabbi al ‘Alaa
and saying in his Ruku:
سبحان ربي العظيم
Subhana Rabbi al Adheem
7- Also one of the mistakes concerning Allah’s Names is to direct the Dua’a to the Attribute. e.g saying, “O the mercy of Allah!” , “O the forgiveness of Allah,” ” O’ the face of Allah,” and so forth. All this is considered wrong, because the Du’aa should be directed to the One who is attributed with this attribute i.e. Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala)
8- One of the contraventions concerning the Names of Allah is ascribing servitude in name to other than Allah, such as to say “Abdun-Nabiy” [the slave of the Prophet] or “Abdul-Ka’bah” [the slave of the Ka’bah] and so forth.
The scholars are in consensus on the prohibition of that because it is shirk in Rubbobiyah and Uloohiyah. In fact all the creation are owned by Allah and they are His Slaves. He (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) singled out with their creation and bringing them to existence. He has created them to single Him in worship.
9-Among the contraventions is to Name some of the creations like the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or other than him with Names that are particular to Allah, such as to say “Al-Awwal and al-Aakhir is Muhammad” , “He is the Dahir and Baatin”
10-Doing/practicing acts which is contrary to the meaning of Allah’s Names or having respect to them, giving regards to their sanctity, Many texts have been quoted indicating the prohibition of calling people with Names particular to Allah and prohibition of the means that could lead to dishonouring the Names of Allah. Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala) says in Surat An- Nur, Verse 13:
مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَاراً
“What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur”
Honoring and venerating the Names of Allah is kind of honoring and venerating Allah (Subhanaahu wa Ta’ala).
11-Also among the mistakes that is commonly spread nowadays, which is contrary to the extolation of Allah is throwing papers, books, newspapers that contain Allah’s names in the ground or in the garbage bins.
The Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not reply the greeting of one of the companions when he was in salat as a respect for Allah’s Name and remembrance, then it does not suit his followers throw the Names of Allah on the ground without giving any heed or respect.
One of the great acts of obedience to specify bins for collecting the papers which have the Names of Allah as a respect for Allah’s Names and Attributes.
Source: Sheikh Abdur-Razaq al Badr