The Different Categories of Allah’s Names and Attributes : Sunday 8th Safar 1436 (30th November 2014)

 Allah commanded us to believe in Him in the Qur’an. This requires us to believe in:

1) His Existence

2) His Lordship

3) His Divinity

4) His Names and Attributes

This is by seeing the impact of His names and attributes in the Universe and in our servitude.

The sea, alternation of the day and night, etc. are all signs which testify to the attributes of Allah, to His greatness, His wisdom, His knowledge, etc. Everything we see in the world is an impact of Allah’s Names and Attributes.

But some are seers and others are blind. The seer relates everything he sees to the names and attributes of Allah.

The blind sees with his eyes but not with his heart. He doesn’t see the oneness of Allah, the ability of Allah, His perfection, etc.

In our prayer we daily say, “إنك حميد مجيد ”

حميد = the one who is worthy of all praise.

This means that all Allah’s actions are praiseworthy, all His attributes are praiseworthy. Whatever happens in the universe, including the events that befall us, is from Allah’s actions and they are all praiseworthy. Even if it is something you don’t like, you still say الحمد لله, because Allah doesn’t decree anything except that there is something good in it.

Allah didn’t decree anything in the Universe except that there is a wisdom behind it.

We may wonder why Allah created insects and other things. but we need to remind ourselves that Allah is الحميد. He didn’t create anything except there is a wisdom behind it.

Surat Fatir, Verse 28

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَابِّ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ كَذَٰلِكَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ
 Only those fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge.

Knowledge of Allah has an impact on the actions of the heart.

70,000 people will enter paradise without reckoning, and one of the reasons they will do so is due to their Tawakkul. They had the most knowledge of Allah and perfected their Tawakkul. Their heart turned to Allah and no one else in seeking guidance, healing, etc.


In four verses in the Qur’an, Allah informed us that to Him belong the most beautiful names.

Surat Al-A’raf,  Verse 180

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.

We have different types of Du’aa:

1) دعاء المسالة 

This is asking Allah.

2) دعاء الثناء 

This is praising Allah.

3) دعاء العبادة 

Your action indicates that you are making du’aa.

If you wear your proper hijab, covering yourself out of modesty, you are worshiping Allah by His name الحييّ.

Allah brought us in life to worship Allah by His names and attributes, otherwise our Tawheed will not be perfect.

Surat Al-‘Isra’, Verse 110

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا
Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way.

The Arabs at the time of the Prophet didn’t know the name الرحمن was for Allah. Therefore, Allah revealed this verse.

Surat Taha, Verse 8

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ
Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.

Allah is joining His worship with all His names. Worshiping Allah with His names and attributes is a must.

Surat Al-Hashr, Verse 24

هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
He is Allah , the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

To Allah belongs الأسماء الحسنى. All His names have reached the utmost beauty because every name of Allah implies a perfect, most beautiful attribute.

الرحمن implies رحمة

Our names are beautiful but they do not imply an attribute. I may be رحمة and I’m not merciful. Or, I may be merciful, but my mercy is limited to those whom I love only.

The names of Allah are synonymous (أسماء مترادف), they all point to Allah alone.

Ibn Al Qayyim said, “Once a Bedouin heard someone reciting Qur’an from his memory “[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah” then the reciter said, “And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” and the man said, “this is not from the speech of Allah” he then recited the verse with “ And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

He said, “if it ended with ” And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” he would not enjoin cutting the hand, but he enjoined it out of his might and wisdom”

We have to take care of what name each verse ends with, because it will tell us who Allah is.

Therefore, when we invoke Allah, we have to be careful. We have to choose the right name which is suitable to our request. Allah teaches us in the Qur’an how to call and invoke Him.

Surat Al-Mu’minun, Verse 109

إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِي يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

Indeed, there was a party of My servants who said, ‘Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful.’

They are pleading Allah with their Eeman. This is a permissible way of beseeching Allah.

The du’aas of the Qur’an are the best to be used when invoking Allah.

In Surat Al-‘A’raf, Verse 89

رَبَّنَا افْتَحْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ قَوْمِنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْفَاتِحِينَ
Our Lord, decide between us and our people in truth, and You are the best of those who give decision.

افْتَحْ بَيْنَنَا  means:

1) Judge

2) Open

He is asking Allah to judge between him and his people.

He used the suitable name for what he is asking. When there is a dispute between us and the people we can invoke Allah with this du’aa.

Knowing Allah by His names and attributes will affect our magnification of Him.

Each name requires servitude from us. For us to invoke, and worship Allah by them.

If you are in distress and want relief,  ask Allah by His name الرحيم. If you are in need of a particular thing, ask Allah by His name  الرزاق, الغني and so on.

The Categories of Allah’s Names and Attributes

Allah’s names are of four categories:

1) Single Names أسماء منفرده

a) Names which imply essential attributes (صفه ذاتيه)

Allah is attributed with this attribute always and forever.

For example: الحي (The Ever-Living)

Allah’s life is eternal. It is not preceded with non-existence, nor does it end with death.

العليم (The All-Knowing)

His Knowledge is not preceded with ignorance, nor does it end with forgetfulness.

b) Names which imply a practical attribute (صفه فعليه)

This is related to the action of Allah. Allah does these actions when He wills or according to the action of His Slave.

ex: “يخلق ما يشاء

When you see “ما يشاء” know it is an action related to His will.

Ex. والله يحب المحسنين

If the servant takes the means, Allah will love him.

c) Names which indicate sanctity

These names free Allah from imperfection.

Ex. Al Qudoos, As-Salaam
Allah is free from imperfection. Allah is all knowing, never forgets, His knowledge is perfect.
These names indicate that all Allah’s attributes are perfect.

d) Comprehensive names (أسماء جامعه)

This is one name which has many meanings.

Ex. الصمد

The Self Sufficient Master, who is Perfect in all His attributes, who is sought for our needs. Every attribute and action of Allah is perfect.

Ex. القيوم

Every action of Allah mentioned in the Qur’an is an impact of His  قيوميه Qayoomiya.

Surat Al-Hajj, Verse 65

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَيُمْسِكُ السَّمَاءَ أَن تَقَعَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is on the earth and the ships which run through the sea by His command? And He restrains the sky from falling upon the earth, unless by His permission. Indeed Allah , to the people, is Kind and Merciful.

Allah is withholding the heavens from falling on the earth. This is an impact of His قيوميه.

Also in Surat Al-‘A’raf,  Verse 57, Surat Al-Qasas, Verse 7 and 13

All these are actions of Allah and they indicate his قيوميه. Although the name of Allah Al-Qayoom is mentioned thrice in the Qur’an, The Qur’an full of His قيوميه.

People think that if a name is mentioned once it isn’t important. The Scholars have said, “الحي القويم are the greatest names of Allah, if Allah is invoked by them, the request will be granted”

2) Coupled Names (أسماء مقترنه)

These are names which are joined together in the Qur’an. Each name has a meaning and implies an attribute. When they are joined together, they give an extra noble meaning.

If we take العزيز الحكيم for example, here Allah’s Might is joined with wisdom. When humans have power, they may transgress and do evil. Allah’s Might is free from injustice and evil, because it is joined with wisdom.

His Wisdom is joined with might. Whenever He decides anything, it is joined with might. No one can repel or resist His decision. We may decide things for ourselves but we fail to get what we want because we don’t have the power to do what we want.

In Surat Ash-Shu’ara’ Allah has repeated the names Al ‘Azeez Ar Raheem nine times. His might is joined with His Mercy.

1) In Verse 9, Allah mentioned them after the sign of the earth and how Allah gives life to it.

2) In Verse 68, He mentioned them after the story of Musa.

3) After the story of Ibrahim (‘Alayhis Salam), in Verse 104.

4) After the story of Nuh (‘Alayhis Salam), in Verse 122.

5) In Verse 140, after the story of Ad.

6) In Verse 159, after the story of Thamud.

7) In Verse 175, after the story of Lot (‘Alayhis Salam).

8) In Verse 191, after the story of Shu’ayb.

9) In Verse 217, when Allah addresses the Prophet.

Allah is telling us that He decrees His mercy for His Prophets and messengers and their followers. By His mercy He rescued them, and by His might He punished those who opposed them.

After mentioning signs, the alternation of the day and night, etc, Allah says, “تقدير العزيز العليم.” This is mentioned thrice in the Qur’an.

Surat Al-‘An`ām, Verse 96

فَالِقُ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ
[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and has made the night for rest and the sun and moon for calculation. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

Allah’s estimation is joined with His Knowledge and Might. No one has the power to subject or make these great creations under their command, except Allah, العزيز. He makes the sun and moon move in their orbits, and they never hit each other. He is العليم. He knows exactly where and how the sun and moon is. He estimates the length of the day and night. These are estimations done according to Allah’s perfect knowledge.

Allah didn’t put these names for no reason. Allah wants to tell us something. We should be contemplating on one verse, day and night, asking ourselves the wisdom behind ending the verse with such names.

Ex. In the Qur’an, whenever Allah tells us to seek refuge from the whispers of the Shaytan, He uses the names السميع العليم

Surat Al-‘A’raf,  Verse 200

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing.

Also in Surat Fussilat, Verse 36

Whenever humans do evil, we should seek refuge in Allah using the name السميع البصير

Surat Ghafir, Verse 56

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ سُلْطَانٍ أَتَاهُمْ ۙ إِن فِي صُدُورِهِمْ إِلَّا كِبْرٌ مَّا هُم بِبَالِغِيهِ ۚ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
Indeed, those who dispute concerning the signs of Allah without [any] authority having come to them – there is not within their breasts except pride, [the extent of] which they cannot reach. So seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Seeing.

We know about Shaytans whisper and evil but we don’t see him. This is why we ask Allah العليم. But humans evil is apparent and can be seen. Allah’s comforting our heart by telling us that He also sees the evil of these humans.

Surat Al-Baqarah Verse 261

مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

Someone may think it is impossible that one grain can give seven hundred grains, or that Allah can multiply the reward of one good deed. It is easy for him to do that because He is vast in His Ability, Knowledge etc.

He knows who deserves to be given multiple rewards, and He knows who doesn’t. No one knows about the intention of the person except Allah.

الواسع is a comprehensive name.

3) Paired Names (أسماء مزدوجة)

These are names that cannot be used seperately from the other,  because the meaning will be wrong.

Ex. المانع المعطي

الضار النافع 

المعز المظل 

4) أسماء الجامعه


About Enlightenment into Islam Center

The Enlightenment into Islam Center is a community of sisters who aim to please Allah by seeking knowledge and calling the people (Muslims as well as non-Muslims) to Tawheed and obedience to Allah by spreading the true knowledge of Islam based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Posted on March 1, 2015, in Allah's Names and Attributes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Jazakom Allaahu khayr, any comments?

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