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Names of God in Islam

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Names of God in Islam

The names of God in Islam (or the 99 names of Allah; Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنىʾasmāʾ allāh al-ḥusnā) are the names by which Muslims regard God. Among other places, they are described in the Quran and Sunnah.[1][2] There is, according to hadith, a special group of 99 names, but no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed a total of 99 in the Quran and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, some of the names of God have also been hidden from mankind.[3]

Contents

  • Origin 1
  • Lists of names 2
  • The Greatest Name 3
  • Personal names 4
  • Views of other religions 5
    • Bábí and Bahá'í view 5.1
    • Zoroastrianism 5.2
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8

Origin

The 99 Names of God on the ceiling of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait.

According to Islamic tradition,[4] [5] A widely accepted hadith in Sahih Muslim states:

Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger [Muhammad] (may peace be upon him) as saying: "There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into Paradise. Verily, Allah is Odd (He is one and it is an odd number) and He loves odd numbers. And in the narration of Ibn 'Umar [the words are]: "He who enumerated them"."
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj NishapuriSahih Muslim [6]

Over time, it became custom to recite a list of 99 names, compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim, as an addendum to the hadith. In 2005, Mahmoud Abdel-Razek compiled an alternative list, endorsing only 69 from the al-Walid list.[7]

The Quran refers to the names of God as God's "most beautiful Names" (al-ʾasmāʾ al-ḥusnā).[8] According to Gerhard Böwering:

They are traditionally enumerated as 99 in number to which is added as the highest Name (al-ism al-ʾaʿẓam), the Supreme Name of God: Allāh. The locus classicus for listing the Divine Names in the literature of Qurʾānic commentary is 17:110, “Call upon God, or call upon The Merciful; whichsoever you call upon, to Him belong the most beautiful Names,” and also 59:22-24, which includes a cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets.
Mystic philosopher [5][9]

Most, though not all, of the 99 names appear in the Quran with a smaller number appearing exclusively in the hadith.[5][9][10][11] The total number of all names in both the Quran and the hadith actually add up to more than 99,[9][12][13] though only 99 are supposedly those which are referred to in the hadith as the exclusion of others.

Lists of names

There isn't universal agreement among Muslims as to what exactly counts as a name and what does not. Additionally, while some names are only in the Quran, and others are only in the hadith, there are some names which appear in both. Different sources give different lists of the 99 names.[5][9]

Arabic Transliteration Translationa Usage Type of referenceb
  الرحمن Ar-Raḥmān The Exceedingly Compassionate, The Exceedingly Beneficent, The Exceedingly Gracious (to all of humanity and all creatures) Ar-Raḥmān Beginning of every Surah (chapter) except one, and numerous other places. The first verse ('ayat) of Surah ar-Rahman (Surah 55) consists only of this Name. D
  الرحيم Ar-Raḥīm The Exceedingly Merciful Ar-Raḥīm Beginning of every Surah (chapter) except one, and numerous other places (there are a total of 114 Surahs in the Quran.) D
  الملك Al-Malik The King, The Sovereign Al-Malik, 59:23, 20:114, 23:116 D
  القدوس Al-Quddūs The Holy, The Divine, The Pure, The Purifier Al-Quddūs, 59:23, 62:1 D
  السلام As-Salām The Peace, The Source of Peace and Safety As-Salām, 59:23 D
  المؤمن Al-Muʾmin The granter of security Al-Muʾmin, 59:23 D
  المهيمن Al-Muhaymin The Controller Al-Muhaymin, 59:23 D
  العزيز Al-ʿAzīz The Almighty, The Invulnerable, The Honorable Al-ʿAzīz, 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23 D
  الجبار Al-Jabbār The Irresistible, The Compeller Al-Jabbār, 59:23 D
  المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Majestic, The Supreme Al-Mutakabbir, 59:23 D
  الخالق Al-Khāliq The Creator Al-Khāliq, 6:102, 13:16,[14] 36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24 D
  البارئ Al-Bāriʾ The Evolver, The Maker Al-Bāriʾ, 59:24 D
  المصور Al-Muṣawwir The Fashioner, The Shaper, The Designer Al-Muṣawwir, 59:24 D
  الغفار Al-Ghaffār The Repeatedly Forgiving Al-Ghaffār, 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10 D
  القهار Al-Qahhār The Subduer Al-Qahhār, 12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16 D
  الوهاب Al-Wahhāb The Bestower Al-Wahhāb, 3:18, 38:9, 38:35 D
  الرزاق Ar-Razzāq The Provider Ar-Razzāq, 51:58 D
  الفتاح Al-Fattāḥ The Opener, The Victory Giver Al-Fattāḥ, 34:26 D
  العليم Al-ʿAlīm The All-Knowing, Omniscient Al-ʿAlīm, 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40 D
  القابض Al-Qābiḍ The Restrainer, The Straightener Al-Qābiḍ, 2:245 V
  الباسط Al-Bāsiṭ The Extender / Expander Al-Bāsiṭ, 2:245 V
  الخَافِض Al-Khāfiḍ The Abaser, The Humiliator, The Downgrader Al-Khāfiḍ, 56:3, see al-Kafʿamī[15] O
  الرافع Ar-Rāfiʿ The Exalter, The Upgrader Ar-Rāfiʿ, 58:11, 6:83 V
  المعز Al-Muʿizz The Giver of Honor Al-Muʿizz, 3:26 V
  المذل Al-Muzill The Giver of Dishonor Al-Muzill, 3:26 V
  السميع As-Samīʿ The All-Hearing As-Samīʿ, 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1 D
  البصير Al-Baṣīr The All-Seeing Al-Baṣīr, 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27 D
  الحكم Al-Ḥakam The Judge, The Arbitrator Al-Ḥakam, 22:69 V
  العدل Al-ʿAdl The Utterly Just Al-ʿAdl, 6:115, See al-Kafʿamī[16]
  اللطيف Al-Laṭīf The Gentle, The Subtly Kind Al-Laṭīf, 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34 D
  الخبير Al-Khabīr The All-Aware Al-Khabīr, 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18 D
  الحليم Al-Ḥalīm The Forbearing, The Indulgent Al-Ḥalīm, 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41 A
  العظيم Al-ʿAẓīm The Magnificent Al-ʿAẓīm, 2:255, 42:4, 56:96 D
  الغفور Al-Ghafūr The Much-Forgiving Al-Ghafūr, 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32 D
  الشكور Ash-Shakūr The Grateful Ash-Shakūr, 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17 A
  العلي Al-ʿAlī The Sublime Al-ʿAlī, 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51 34:23 D
  الكبير Al-Kabīr The Great Al-Kabīr, 13:9, 22:62, 13:30, 34:23 D
  الحفيظ Al-Ḥafīẓ The Preserver Al-Ḥafīẓ, 11:57, 34:21, 42:6 A
  المقيت Al-Muqīt The Nourisher Al-Muqīt, 4:85 I
  الحسيب Al-Ḥasīb The Bringer of Judgment Al-Ḥasīb, 4:6, 4:86, 33:39 I
  الجليل Al-Jalīl The Majestic Al-Jalīl, 55:27, 7:143 A, V
  الكريم Al-Karīm The Bountiful, The Generous Al-Karīm, 27:40, 82:6 D
  الرقيب Ar-Raqīb The Watchful Ar-Raqīb, 4:1, 5:117 D
  المجيب Al-Mujīb The Responsive, The Answerer Al-Mujīb, 11:61 A
  الواسع Al-Wāsiʿ The Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The Boundless Al-Wāsiʿ, 2:268, 3:73, 5:54 A
  الحكيم Al-Ḥakīm The All-Wise Al-Ḥakīm, 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2 D
  الودود Al-Wadūd The Loving Al-Wadūd, 11:90, 85:14 D
  المجيد Al-Majīd The All-Glorious, The Majestic Al-Majīd, 11:73 A
  الباعث Al-Bāʿith The Resurrector Al-Bāʿith, 22:7 V
  الشهيد Ash-Shahīd The Witness Ash-Shahīd, 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28 A
  الحق Al-Ḥaqq The Truth, The Reality Al-Ḥaqq, 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25 D
  الوكيل Al-Wakīl The Trustee, The Dependable, The Advocate Al-Wakīl, 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9 A
  القوي Al-Qawiy The Strong Al-Qawiy, 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25 D
  المتين Al-Matīn The Firm, The Steadfast Al-Matīn, 51:58 D
  الولي Al-Walī The Friend, Patron and Helper Al-Walī, 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19 D
  الحميد Al-Ḥamīd The All Praiseworthy Al-Ḥamīd, 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42 D
  المحصي Al-Muḥṣī The Accounter, The Numberer of All Al-Muḥṣī, 72:28, 78:29 V
  المبدئ Al-Mubdiʾ The Originator, The Producer, The Initiator Al-Mubdiʾ, 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
  المعيد Al-Muʿīd The Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back All Al-Muʿīd, 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
  المحيي Al-Muḥyī The Giver of Life Al-Muḥyī, 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2 V
  المميت Al-Mumīt The Bringer of Death Al-Mumīt, 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2 V
  الحي Al-Ḥayy The Living Al-Ḥayy, 2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65 D
  القيوم Al-Qayyūm The Subsisting, The Independent Al-Qayyūm, 2:255, 3:2, 20:111 D
  الواجد Al-Wājid The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing Al-Wājid, 38:44 V
  الماجد Al-Mājid The Illustrious, The Magnificent Al-Mājid, 85:15, 11:73, see al-Kafʿamī[17] A
  الواحد Al-Wāḥid The Unique, The Single Al-Wāḥid, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4 D
  الاحد Al-ʾAḥad The One, The Indivisible Al-ʾAḥad, 112:1 A
  الصمد Aṣ-Ṣamad The Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-Sufficient Aṣ-Ṣamad, 112:1 D
  القادر Al-Qādir The All-Powerful, He Who is able to do Everything Al-Qādir, 6:65, 46:33, 75:40 D
  المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The Determiner, The Dominant Al-Muqtadir, 18:45, 54:42, 6:65 A
  المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward Al-Muqaddim, 16:61 V
  المؤخر Al-Muʾakhkhir The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away Al-Muʾakhkhir, 71:4 V
  الأول Al-ʾAwwal The First, The Beginning-less Al-ʾAwwal, 57:3 D
  الأخر Al-ʾAkhir The Last, The Endless Al-ʾAkhir, 57:3 D
  الظاهر Aẓ-Ẓāhir The Manifest, The Evident, The Outer Aẓ-Ẓāhir, 57:3 D
  الباطن Al-Bāṭin The Hidden, The Unmanifest, The Inner Al-Bāṭin, 57:3 D
  الوالي Al-Wālī The Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly Lord Al-Wālī, 13:11 I
  المتعالي Al-Mutaʿālī The Supremely Exalted, The Most High Al-Mutaʿālī, 13:9 D
  البر Al-Barr The Good, The Beneficent Al-Barr, 52:28 D
  التواب At-Tawwāb The Ever-Returning, Ever-Relenting At-Tawwāb, 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3 D
  المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger Al-Muntaqim, 32:22, 43:41, 44:16 P
  العفو Al-ʿAfū The Pardoner, The Effacer, The Forgiver Al-ʿAfū, 4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:60, 58:2 V, I
  الرؤوف Ar-Raʾūf The Kind, The Pitying Ar-Raʾūf,3:30, 9:117, 57:9, 59:10 I
  مالك الملك Mālik-ul-Mulk Owner of all Sovereignty Mālik-ul-Mulk, 3:26 D
 
ذو الجلال والإكرام
wa-l-ʾikrām
Dhū-l-Jalāli
Lord of Majesty and Generosity Dhū-l-Jalāli-wa-l-ʾikrām, 55:27, 55:78 D
  المقسط Al-Muqsiṭ The Equitable, The Requiter Al-Muqsiṭ,7:29, 3:18, See al-Kafʿamī[18] O
  الجامع Al-Jāmiʿ The Gatherer, The Unifier Al-Jāmiʿ, 3:9 I
  الغني Al-Ghanī The Rich, The Independent Al-Ghanī,3:97, 39:7, 47:38, 57:24 I, A, D
  المغني Al-Mughnī The Enricher, The Emancipator Al-Mughnī, 9:28 V
  المانع Al-Māniʿ The Withholder, The Shielder, The Defender Al-Māniʿ, See al-Kafʿamī[19]
  الضار Aḍ-Ḍārr The Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor Aḍ-Ḍārr, 6:17, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
  النافع An-Nāfiʿ The Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of Good An-Nāfiʿ, 30:37, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
  النور An-Nūr The Light An-Nūr, 24:35 I
  الهادي Al-Hādī The Guide, The Way Al-Hādī, 22:54 I
  البديع Al-Badīʿ The Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful Al-Badīʿ, 2:117, 6:101 I
  الباقي Al-Bāqī The Immutable, The Infinite, The Everlasting Al-Bāqī, 55:27, see al-Kafʿamī[21] V
  الوارث Al-Wārith The Heir, The Inheritor of All Al-Wārith, 15:23, 57:10 P
  الرشيد Ar-Rashīd The Guide to the Right Path Ar-Rashīd, 2:256, 72:10, see al-Kafʿamī[21]
  الصبور Aṣ-Ṣabūr The Timeless, The Patient Aṣ-Ṣabūr, 2:153, 3:200, 103:3 I

a Can vary based on context.      b D = Direct; V = from Verb; A = from Adjective or Adjectival Phrase; I = from Indefinite noun; P = from Plural noun; O = Other

The Greatest Name

The 99 names point to the inherent unity of the all-embracing Greatest Name (Ismi Azam).[22] In Islamic traditions, it is stated "The Greatest Name of Allah is the one which if He [Allah] is called (prayed to) by it, He will Answer."[23]

Personal names

According to Islamic tradition,[24] a Muslim may not be given any of the 99 names of God in exactly the same form. For example, nobody may be named al-Malik (The King), but may be named Malik (King). This is because of the belief that God is almighty, and no human being is the equivalent of God, and no human being will ever be the equivalent of God. Muslims are allowed to use the 99 names of God for themselves but should not put 'Al' at the front of them.[25]

However the names of God can be combined with the word "‘Abd-" which means "servant/Worshiper" (of God) and are commonly used as personal names among Muslims. For example ‘Abd ar-Raḥmān ("Servant of the Most Compassionate/the Beneficent"). The two parts of the name may be written separately (as above) or combined as one transliterated name; in such a case, the vowel transcribed after ‘Abd is often written as u when the two words are transcribed as one: e.g., Abdurrahman, Abdul'aziz, "Abdul Jabbar", or even Abdullah ("Servant of God"). (This has to do with Arabic case vowels, the final u vowel showing the normal "quote" nominative/vocative case form: ‘abd-u.)

Some Muslim people have names resembling those 99. Examples include:

Views of other religions

Bábí and Bahá'í view

Bahá'í sources state that the 100th name was revealed as "Bahá’" (an Arabic word بهاء meaning "glory, splendor" etc.), which is the root word for Bahá'u'lláh and Bahá'í. They also believe that it is the 'Greatest Name'.[26][27] The Báb wrote a noted pentagram-shaped tablet with 360 derivatives of the word "Bahá'" used in it.[26]

According to Bahá'í scholar ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili adopted the pen name (takhallus) 'Baha' after being inspired by words of Shi'a Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Imam) and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (the sixth Imam), who had stated that the Greatest Name of God was included in either Du'ay-i-Sahar or A`amaal Ummi Dawud.[26] In the first verse of the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a dawn prayer for Ramadan, the name "Bahá" appears four times: "Allahumma inni as 'aluka min Bahá' ika bi Abháh va kulla Bahá' ika Bahí".[28]

Zoroastrianism

Some names of God are similar to 101 names of Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.[29]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Fleming, Marrianne; Worden, David (2004). Religious Studies for AQA; Thinking About God and Morality. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers.  
  2. ^ Abdullah Saeed, The Qur'an: An Introduction, pg. 63. London: Routledge, 2008. ISBN 9781134102945
  3. ^ Taymiyya, Ibn. The Goodly Word: al-Kalim al-Ṭayyib. Islamic Texts Society. p. 72.  
  4. ^ Ibn Majah, Book of Du`a; Imam Malik, Muwatta', Kitab al-Shi`r.
  5. ^ a b c d Diane Morgan, Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice, pg. 10. Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2010. ISBN 9780313360251
  6. ^ Sahih Muslim, 35:6475
  7. ^ Mahmoud Abdul Razek Al Radwany, "Of the 99 Names Of Allah That We Repeat: Only 69 Are Authentic" published in the Egyptian daily, Al Ahram, on Nov 18, 2005. His objections are mostly grammatical in that a 'name' in Arabic must be a noun: "only 69 of those Names are authenticated from the Quran and Sunnah, while 29 are not authentic in that 22 are verbs or adjectives, and 7 are 'modafa' or 'added to.'" Islamic Forum
  8. ^ See the suras "Al-A'raf" (7:180), "Al-Isra" (17:110), "Ta-Ha" (20:8) and "Al-Hashr" (59:24).
  9. ^ a b c d Malcolm Clark, Islam For Dummies. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. ISBN 9781118053966
  10. ^ Martin Parsons, Unveiling God, pg. 206. William Carey Library, 2005. ISBN 9780878084548
  11. ^ Juan Eduardo Campo, Encyclopedia of Islam, pg. 515. Infobase Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781438126968
  12. ^ Susanne Enderwitz, "The 99: Islamic Superheroes - A New Species." Taken from Transcultural Turbulences: Towards a Multi-Sited Reading of Image Flows, pgs. 84-85. Springer, 2011. ISBN 9783642183935
  13. ^ The 99 names of Allah; the ‘Most Beautiful Names’ at BBC Online. Accessed 8 April 2014.
  14. ^ http://al-quran.info/#36:81
  15. ^ al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 38. (WorldCat listing)
  16. ^ al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 40. (WorldCat listing)
  17. ^ al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 48. (WorldCat listing)
  18. ^ al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). pages 58-59. (WorldCat listing)
  19. ^ al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 61. (WorldCat listing)
  20. ^ a b al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 58. (WorldCat listing)
  21. ^ a b al-Kafʿamī, ʾIbrahīm bin ʿAlī (1436-1500 CE). al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī (1992). page 64. (WorldCat listing)
  22. ^  
  23. ^ Momen, Moojan (2000). Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 241.   The endnote states: "Ibn Májah, Sunan, 34. (Kitáb ad-Du'á), ch. 9, no. 3856, vol. 2, p. 1267. See also: Ad-Dárimí, Sunan, 23 (Fada'il al-Qur'án), ch. 15, no. 3296, vol. 2, pp. 324-5. Similar statements in Shi'i Traditions include: Majlisí, Bihár al-Anwár, vol. 26. p. 7."
  24. ^ Islam-QA website Are there any names which it is forbidden to use? If so, what are they?
  25. ^ Prohibited Muslim Names.
  26. ^ a b c Lambden, Stephen (1993). "The Word Bahá': Quintessence of the Greatest Name". Bahá'í Studies Review 3 (1). 
  27. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "greatest name". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 167–8.  
  28. ^  
  29. ^ http://www.avesta.org/ka/101names.htm

External links

  • 99namesallah.org, containing 99 names of God with complete reference to the Holy Quran (also pdf, powerpoint format).
  • Al-Rahman al-Rahim. Problems of Interpretation and Translation
  • The Beautiful Names of Allah, containing the derivation and meanings of the 99 names. Also has audio of someone saying each one.
  • 99 Names of Allah, a more concise account of the attributes of God.
  • The Most Beautiful Names of Allah. Lists the names in English as well as Arabic and the verses in which they are found in the Quran.
  • Oil paintings of all the 99 names of Allah.
  • (French) Exegesis of Names Of Allah
  • (Arabic) al-Maqām al-asnā fī tafsīr al-asmāʼ al-ḥusnā
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