Importance of studying the names of Allah and His attributes (Part 4) – Sunday Nov. 11th 2012
Posted by Enlightenment into Islam Center
What are rules regarding the names of Allah?
It is your belief regarding the names of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) and His attributes. The rules are your indication for the belief of the Names of Allah and His attributes. Your belief should be according to the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wal jamaa. The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa are the companions of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and the first three generations. We have to follow them when we study the rules.
This is the most critical chapter which the Muslims disputed about. Most of the Muslims deviated into different sects because of the belief in the Names of Allah and their Attributes. We want to be from the saved sect who follows the belief of the Sahabah and the Tabi’een. This is why we need to know the correct rule regarding the Names and Attributes of Allah.
- Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has names and they are Husna.
Surah A’raf 7:180:
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.
What does Husna mean?
Every name of Allah implies a perfect attribute.
Example: Al Hayy (Ever Living)
It implies the attribute of life. It is a beautiful name and implies a perfect attribute. This means that Allah’s life is perfect. In order to know how perfect Allah’s life is, compare it to our lives. Our lives are preceded with nothingness and it is followed with death. Allah’s life is perfect, it is not preceded with nothingness nor is it followed with death. Our life is not perfect, we become tired, sick, while Allah’s life is perfect.
Example 2: Al-Aleem (All Knower)
It implies the attribute of knowledge. Allah’s knowledge is perfect compared to our knowledge. Our knowledge is preceded by ignorance. We were ignorant and Allah taught us. And it is preceded by forgetfulness. The knowledge of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is perfect from all aspects. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has mentioned in the Qur’an about His vast knowledge. He knows everything in detail and generally.
When Firaun asked Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) about the previous nations, He said it is with my Lord, in a book which my Lord never errs or forgets.
And to Him are the keys of the unseen, no one knows about it except Allah. No one knows where we will die or when except Allah. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) knows when the judgment day will be established. He knows what is in the womb of the mother. Allah mentioned about his detailed knowledge that there is no leaf that drops but Allah knows it. He knows what our breasts conceal; no one can hide from Allah. Everything is known to Allah. This indicates Allah’s detailed knowledge.
This is why we say the name Al- Aleem implies the perfect knowledge of Allah. Nothing escapes Allah’s knowledge. Allah knows what happened, what is happening, what will happen.
Example 3: Ar-Rahmaan
It implies the attribute of mercy. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has said in the Qur’an that His mercy precedes His anger. And The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah is more merciful to you than your mothers” So what do you expect from the most merciful? Nothing but good.
Surah Sajdah, Chapter 32 Verse 22:
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا ۚ إِنَّا مِنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنتَقِمُونَ
And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, then he turns aside therefrom? Verily, We shall exact retribution from the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.).
Is Muntaqim a name of Allah or not?
This attribute is for the Mujrimum exclusively. Allah’s names are praiseworthy names. But here this name implies a restricted attribute to the criminals only. If you say Allah is Muntaqim, He is being Muntaqim with even the believers, so it cannot be a name for Allah. When you say a name for Allah it should be absolute, for all. When you say Rahman, He is Rahman with the believers and disbelievers. But Muntaqim, How can Muntaqim be with the believers? So this is a restricted attribute with the criminals.
They plot and Allah also plots. Can we call Allah a plotter? No, but Allah plots. But only against the plotters. The names of Allah are praising names; it implies beautiful and perfect attributes.
We cannot call Allah by these names, because they are only particular to certain actions, to the criminals, hypocrites.
Names of Allah are praiseworthy names.
The scholars classified the names of Allah. They said the names of Allah are of different classifications:
- There are names which imply beautiful attribute – Asmaa ul Jamaal (Rahman, Raheem, Wadud, Lateef, etc) which make a person love Allah more.
- Asmaa ul Jalal – Names which are might which imply might attributes (Aziz, Qawy, Adheem, Qadeer, Qahhar, Jabbar,etc) It brings fear and magnification.
- Asmaa Muqtarina – coupled names such as (Ghaniy and Hameed, Gafoor and Raheem, Lateefun Khabeer, etc)
Each name is a beautiful name. Ghaniy is a beautiful name. When they are joined we have another name with an extra beautiful meaning.
Ghaniy – All rich
Hameed – Praiseworthy
When these two are joined it becomes another name with an extra meaning.
- Asmaa Muzdawaja – Doubled Names. Alone they are not a name of Allah, only when they are joined they become a name of Allah (Dhaahirul Baatin, Qaabidul Basit,)
Ibn Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said “Adhaaar naafian (The one who harms and benefits)”. Dhaar alone cannot be a name for Allah, nor can naafi, but when they are joined they became a name of Allah.
- Asmaa Jaamia – Comprehensive Names. – Ar-Rabb, As-Samad , As-Salaam. Every attribute of Allah is free from defects. This is why Salaam is considered a comprehensive name
The scholars classified these names to make it easy for us to understand the names of Allah.
- Allah’s names are similar from one aspect and are not similar in another aspect. They all signify one God. When you call Ar-razzaq, Ar-Rahaman you are calling Allah. They all signify one Lord. At the same time there are dissimilar because every name has a special meaning.
Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 110:
قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا
The Quraish heard the Prophet Muhamemd (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) calling Allah saying, “Ya Allah, Ya Rahman”. They said “He is calling us to call One Lord and he is calling two Gods.” They thought Allah was one God and Ar-Rahman was another God. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) replied saying if you call Allah with this name, or Ar-Rahman they belong to Allah.
This is why it is important to understand these verses in the Qur’an.
- The Names of Allah are of two categories:
- Names indicate transitive attributes – Actions of Allah to the creation
- Names which imply intransitive attributes
Example: As Samee (All Hearing). The attribute it implies is hearing. It is transitive because Allah hears His creation. It had come in the form of a verb which means it has an action towards the creation.
Al Khaaliq – It implies the attribute of the creation. It is transitive, Allah created the creation. Allah said He creates what He wills.
Ar-Razzaq. It is transitive because He gives to whoever he wills.
Intransitive Attributes: As-Samad, Al Aziz, Al Qawwi, As-Salaam, AlAwwal, Al Aakhir, Al hayy.
- Allah’s names are Tawqifiyyah
We cannot invent any names; our sources are from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Whatever the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us, these are the names of Allah, we are not supposed to invent names for ourselves. We have to stop at the names at whatever Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has taught us.
Bear in mind, saying about Allah or naming Allah with names which he didn’t name himself with is forging a lie against Allah. This is considered a grave sin, even greater than Shirk.
Evidence: Surah A’raf Verse 33
قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“Say (O Muhammad Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.”
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is mentioning the lesser sins in degree then He mentions what is higher in gravity. Saying about Allah without any knowledge is grievous than shirk. See how many people easily talk and say that Allah loves you, or Allah is angry with Him, etc.
How do you know that Allah loves him or is angry with him? You should not talk about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) without knowledge. It is more serious than Shirk. If you name Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) with names He didn’t name himself with it is also a grave sin.