These are course notes sent to me by a sister. I hope everyone finds this of benefit. Her notes are very detailed mashaAllah so I will be posting it in parts.
Alhamdulillah wassalatu wassalamu ala Rasoolillah wa ala aalihi wa sahbihi wassalam tasleeman katheeran
An explanation of the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah is a document put together using notes taken from an in-depth and detailed course on this topic. The notes were taken as comprehensively as possible during lessons, however in certain places where anything had been missed out and also to expand on the explanation of some of the Names, content has been used from the Names and Attributes posts from the website ‗understandquran.com.‘ The content from this website is in grey coloured font. Qu’ran ayat, ahadith and quotes have been added to enhance the notes wherever suitable. May Allah reward the people behind the course and the posts on the understandquran website, and may accept the efforts in putting this piece of knowledge together and sharing it. May we all benefit from these notes and apply what we learn in our lives, aameen.
To proceed: The most excellent and the most perfect of ‘ilm is to learn about Allah. To know about Him; about His Actions and about His Names and Attributes.
So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place. [Muhammad 47: 19]
Imam Bukhaari and others say that this ayah is proof that Allah has made fard the ilm about Him before action, because ilm comes before tawbah in the ayah and tawbah is an action. Therefore it is vital to learn about Allah.
Knowledge of the Names of Allah is the basis for all other knowledge.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ―Knowledge of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge, for all of these other branches of knowledge are devoted to either a command or a creation of His.‖ [Badaa’i’ al-Fawaa’id (1/163)].
Ibn al-Qayyim says one of the reasons for gaining the of love for Allah is : Making the heart aware of His Names and Attributes, giving it the opportunity of walking in the orchards of this knowledge, because whoever knows Allah with His Names, Attributes and Acts will certainly love Him. The knowing person is the one who knows Allah with His Names, Attributes and Acts, and then become sincere in his dealings with Allah, and then sincerely dedicate his intentions and purposes to Allah. [Madarij as Salikeen]
Aims in studying the Names and Attributes of Allah.
1.To gain closeness to Him through the knowledge of His Names and Attributes
2. To increase and have better muhabba and khawf for Him, to know and obey His Orders, and to fully submit to His Decree
3. To connect to the most beautiful Names of Allah with every minute of our life, by knowing, learning, memorising and understanding these Names with our hearts and by showing them in our actions.
4. To use these Names when making du’a as Allah mentions: And to Allah belong the best Names, so invoke Him by them. [al Aa’raaf 7:180] The more Names you know, the easier it will be to connect oneself to Allah, by remembering the relevant Names and to get solace and relief in times of stress and worries and to connect each situation we go through with the specific Names of Allah that link to our situations.
The slave of Allah must adorn his heart and fill it with the ilm of Allah. When this is instilled in the heart, the person begins to act the way Allah wants him to act – sincerely, perfectly and truly. His characteristics will become like those of Allah, for example he knows Allah is Ar-Rahman so he becomes merciful towards people, he knows Allah is generous so he begins to be generous towards people etc. The person starts taking from the characteristics of Allah. The ilm of Allah will change our hearts and it will change our lives. We will begin to see Allah differently as we gain knowledge of His Names and Attributes and this will change the relationship we have with Allah.
Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Ale Imran 3:31]
Once we know about Allah, our ibadah will become perfect and we will attain pure tawheed.
Allah also says:
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [al Hashr 59:22]
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. [al Hashr 59: 23]
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. [al Hashr 59: 24]
We call on Allah by His Names, for the du’a we are asking for. For example a person who has sinned should say Ya Rahman, Ya Raheem, Ya Tawwaab, a person who wants provisions should say Ya Razzaq etc.
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. [al A’raaf 7:180]
The most perfect way to call upon Allah is by calling upon His Names and Attributes.
Principles of learning the Names and Attributes of Allah
1. The Names of Allah are all tawqefiyyah.
They can only be accepted as Names and Attributes of Allah if they are mentioned in the Qur’an and/or the Sunnah. We only accept shar’ee text when affirming the Names and Attributes of Allah.
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned. [al Israa 17:36].
He also says:
Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [al A’raaf 7:33]
2. The Names of Allah are all Al-Husna.
The evidence for this is Surah Hashr ayah 24 as stated above (p.8). Linguistically Husna comes from word ahsan – perfect in every single respect. Ibn Qayyim says the shar’ee meaning is that the Names of Allah and His Attributes are perfect, without any sort of deficiency.
3. We must believe in the pillars of the Names and Attributes which are the following;
a) We must have eemaan in the Names of Allah; that these Names are Allah’s Names
b) We must have eemaan in what the meaning of this Name is. So we must believe that Allah’s Name is Ar-Rahman and also that He possesses Mercy.
c) We must have belief in what Allah does with this Name. So Allah has the Name Ar-Rahman, He posseses Mercy and He also has the Attribute of Mercy.
4. The Names of Allah are not limited by a number.
In Sahih Muslim it is reported that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wassalam said: Allah has 99 Names, whoever memorises them (ahsaaha) will enter jannah.
From a linguistic perspective this doesn’t limit the Names of Allah to 99. Allah has revealed more than 99 Names (we will be covering around 106). But from this hadith, it means if we memorise/count 99 Names of Allah, then we will enter Jannah. Another evidence that Allah has more than 99 Names is that this will be putting a limit on Allah, and Allah is free from having any limits. Narrated by Ahmad (3704) from ‗Abd-Allaah ibn Mas‘ood who said:
The Messenger of Allaah sallalahu alayhi wassalam said:
There is no-one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says: O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your hand, Your Command over me is forever executed and Your Decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You have 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 a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety),‘ but Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy. He was asked: ―O Messenger of Allaah, should we learn this? He said: ―Of course; everyone who hears it should learn it. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 199.
This also shows that Allah has more than 99 Names.
The Names of Allah can be categorised into three
1. Names He called Himself with, informed the Angels in Jannah, but has not revealed to us.
2. Names that He has revealed to us in Qur’an and Sunnah
3. Names of Allah that no one knows except Allah.
What does ahsaha mean?
It has 4 meanings:
1. Person counts them and has memorised them all
2. He is aware of the meaning of the Names as well as having memorised them
3. That he knows how Allah is that Name, i.e. How He is Ar-Rahman.
4. That he makes du’a to Allah by calling him by these Names.
Allah has promised this person Jannah.
Allah is His general Name. His Names are general but can be specific. However if described as something in a specific situation, we don’t make tha general. For example ―wallahu khairul maakireen.‖ We don’t say Allah is Maakir or the Plotter as this is only for a specific incident, against the kuffar. We don’t say this is a Name of Allah as it isn’t from asmaa al husnaa. Another example when Allah mentiosn about the munafiqoon, ―they forgot Allah, so Allah forgot them‖ we don’t say Allah has the attribute of forgetting because this is a deficiency and is not an attribute of husna, and Allah’s Names and Attributes are free from any sort of deficiency and are all husna.