Knowing Allah, the Exalted (3/3)
Source: The Creed of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah in regards to Allah’s Names and Attributes, by Shaikh Bin ‘Uthaimeen
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Allah has ninety-nine Names, one-hundred less one; and he who Ahsaaha (memorized them all by heart, believed in their meanings, and acted accordingly) will enter Paradise.”
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful to him), categorized & explained the meaning of Ahsaaha as follows:
The first grade (rank): To count the names and memorize them.
The second grade: To understand their meanings.
The third grade: To worship Allah accordingly, by believing in their meanings, acting upon them by calling on Allah by them. e.g., when one is seeking mercy then he will call Allah with His Names Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, when asking for sustenance then one calls on Him by His Names Ar-Raziq and Ar-Razzaq and so on. This is called “Du’aa al-Mas’alah”. Whereas “Du’aa al-‘Ebaadah” is to worship Allah according to these Names e.g., one will return unto Allah in repentance because Allah is At-Tawwab (All-Forgiving, accepts repentance), one remembers Allah, because He is As-Sami’ (All-Hearing), one fears Allah in secret, because He is Al-Latif (Most Kind and Courteous), Al-Khabir (Well-Acquainted with all things), and so on. [Al-Qawa’id al-Muthla Fii Sifat Allah Ta’alaa, by Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen]
The following Hadith indicates that Allah has more than 99 Names but only 99 Names are known to us. As reported by Ahmed Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim with correct Isnad, and narrated by Ibn Masud that the Messenger of Allah said: “Let one who is afflicted and distressed utter this supplication. No slave of Allah ever said this supplication but Allah took away his grief and granted him ease instead:
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Allah-humma innni abduka wabnu abdika, wabnu amatik. Nasiati bi-yadik. Maadin fiyya Hukmuk. Adlun fiyya Qadaa’uk. As-Aluka bikulli esmin howa lak, sammyta bihi nafsak, Aow Anzaltahu fi kitabik, Aow Allamtahu ahadan min khalqik, Aow – Esta’tharta bihi fii ilmil-ghaibi ‘Eindak. An Taj’alal – Quran Rabi’a Qalbi, wa noora sadri, wa jalaa-a huzni wa dhahaba hammi.
"Oh Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your Hand. Your command over me is forever and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and departure of my sorrow and a release of my anxiety.”
This Hadith indicates that there are Names belonging to Allah, which He did not reveal in His Book. He concealed them from His creation and did now show them to anyone.
There are a number of Ahadith, which actually mention the ninety-nine names, for example, those by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. In at-Tirmidhi it is narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Allah has ninety-nine Names, whoever memorizes and comprehends them (Ahsaaha) enters Paradise,”
and then it mentions ninety-nine Names ascribed to Allah .
The scholars of Ahadith, (for example Ibn Hajr, Ibn Hazm, Ibn ‘Atiyyah and Ibn Taymiyyah), have judged these Ahadith which specify the ninety-nine Names of Allah, to be weak.
· The chains of narrators are weak because of the weakness of some narrators;
· The contents of the Ahadith are weak because of contradiction and variations in them.
When we compare the Hadith as mentioned in Ibn Majah, with the Hadith as mentioned in at-Tirmidhi, the Names vary. It is possible that the addition of the ninety-nine Names ascribed to Allah were included in the Hadith by one of the narrators of the Hadith, (for example al-Waleed ibn Muslim), according to his personal opinion, because these names are not related by Bukhari or Muslim.
· Another proof that the Hadith is weak is that it doesn’t include many Names, which are mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, while; on the other hand it includes names, which are neither mentioned in the Qur’an nor the Sunnah.
· There is no authentic Hadith reported from the Prophet that specifies the ninety-nine Names of Allah.
Therefore, scholars have tried to discover and list these Names from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. When adding up all the Names which the scholars consider to be the Names of Allah, we can list at least 291. Of these, some have been agreed upon by the scholars, others are the subject of disagreement, and this issue needs more verification in sha-Allah (By the Will of Allah).
And Allah knows best.