Arabic Virtual Academy

The Academy Blog
11 Jun 2015

The Number Of Allah’s Names

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This issue of Allah’s names is one that many of the Muslims of our time have unfortunately misunderstood. Therefore, it was necessary for so many of our Scholars to explain it to us in detail. This way that our understating about this important topic which has a direct attachment to the aqueedah (belief system) of the Muslim Ummah.

When Sheikh Uthaimeen was asked about this issue, he explained it in a way that anyone could easily understand it, as well as explain it to others. May Allah make his grave spacious and pardon him for any and all of his sins… Allahuma ameen.

When asked –

Are the names of Allah restricted to a certain number?

He replied –

The names of Allah are not restricted to a specific number. The proof for this is the statement of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) in the authentic hadeeth: “Oh Allah, I am your slave and the son of your male and female slave”. To the point where he said, “I ask you by all of your names that you mentioned about yourself, or sent down in your book, or taught to one of your creation, or kept to yourself in your knowledge of the unseen” [Reported by Ahmed]. That which Allah kept to himself in the knowledge of the unseen, we can not possibly know. Therefore, that which is not known cannot be limited to a certain number.

As far as his statement, “Verily for Allah are 99 names, who ever counts them will enter into the paradise” [reported by al Bukhari and Muslim]. The meaning of this is not that there are no other names beside these names. Rather the meaning is that whoever counts from his names these 99 than he will enter into the paradise. So His statement, “whoever counts them” is a completion to the first sentence, and not a whole new sentence. And like this is the statement well known by the Arabs, “I have 100 horses ready to go out in Allah’s cause”. This does not mean that one does not have more than 100, but rather it only means that there are 100 prepared.

Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) reported a consensus from the people that know about the hadeeth that the number and the listing of the names are not authentic upon the tongue of the Messenger (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). The Sheikh, proved this by the huge differences of opinions about them. The ones that tried to check on the authenticity of this hadeeth say that it is a huge situation because it is something that helps one to arrive at the paradise. So therefore, the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with all of them) would have asked the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) to point them out. This shows that they would have been pointed out by the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). But this is not necessarily true. If it had been like this, than these 99 names would have been known. They would have been transmitted and found in the two Sahihs (Bukhari and Muslim). This is what necessity would have called for and would have been preserved and memorized. So how is it then, that they do not come except from a way that is not certain, and the lists of these names are different? The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) did not reveal them to the people out of a deep wisdom. It is that the people should search for them in the book and the Sunnah. This way the one that did not find it important, will find it as something important.

To count them does not mean to write them down and repeat them until you have memorized them, rather the meaning is;

First: Coming across the names

Second: Understanding the meanings of these names

Third: Worshiping Allah by that these names point to, which is done in two ways

1) Calling on Allah by way of them because of the command from Allah {And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them} [al A’raaf:180]. This is done by making them a go between between you and that which you are requesting. So you pick the name that is fitting for that which you are asking. So when you are asking for forgiveness you say, “Oh Al Gafoor (The Ever Forgiving) forgive me”. It is not befitting that you say in this situation, “Oh Shadeed al Eqaab (The Severe in Punishing) forgive me”. But rather this is kind of like making jest. Rather one should say something like’ “save me from your punishment”.

2) That you turn to in your worship that which brings about the meaning in these names. That which is pointed to when we say Ar Raheem is mercy. So actions are done tht will cause the mercy of Allah. This is the meaning of counting them. So if this is the case, then it is befitting that doing this would be the price of getting into the paradise.


[Taken from Fatawah Arkan al Islam]

[Translated by Abu Abdillah Abdul Lateef]

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