An Explanation ofAllahs Beautiful Names and Attributes part 1

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.
Introduction
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.
Allah says:
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.
Allah says:
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.
Allah says:
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.
Allah says:
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.
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I Hear Whispers…

I hear whispers telling me that it’s okay to pray later that what I’m doing is far too important to leave halfway through. I hear whispers saying not to worry that I have loads of time to pray before the next salah time begins. He tells me to sit down and relax for a while longer. Then before I realise salah time is ending and I’m rushing to pray. 

I hear whispers even while I’m praying reminding me of all the things I need to do. He reminds me of things I had long forgotten. He tries to distract me, constantly making me lose focus on my salah. 

I hear whispers telling me that I shouldn’t give so much in charity because then how will I pay for the things I need? He tells me to give only a little or to give next time because I have bills to pay and things to buy. He reminds me of poverty and causes me to forget that Allah is the one who provides.

 I hear whispers reminding me of my insecurities and self doubts. He makes me feel as though I can’t achieve anything, that my success is limited. He makes me doubt my own abilities and tries to stop me from reaching higher.

I hear whispers telling me my mistakes are so big that there’s no hope for me. He tells me that I have no hope for forgiveness that I may as well not even bother trying. He tries to make me despair in the mercy of Allah.

I hear whispers telling me that my husband didn’t do it by accident. He did it on purpose because he doesn’t care about me. He tells me I should hurt him too. He tells me it will make me feel better if I argue with him. He tells me to scream at him. He tells me to say hurtful things to him. He makes me feel this is the only way to make my husband see that I’m hurt.

I hear whispers telling me that this person spread lies about me so I should do the same. I hear whispers telling me how unfair it is that others have what I want and that its okay to be jealous. I hear whispers telling me to treat others badly because they were mean to me. That this is the only way, that revenge is the best thing. I hear whispers that remind me of the hurt and betrayal by others. He tells me not to forgive them, that they don’t deserve it. He tells me that I should remain angry with them and break ties with them. That’s the only way to get them back. 

These whispers are so dangerous I don’t know how to stop it from affecting me. But I have to fight it. I can’t let it control me. I can’t let it ruin my chances of Jannah. This is the true jihad. Because these whispers come from none other than Shaytan and my own nafs (desires). They whisper so sweetly that they convince me that this is the right thing to do. But I have to keep fighting. I have to keep my defences strong. I have to pray and make dua and keep my dhikr consistent. Without these I am defenceless. I won’t be able to fight their whispers. Because even though it’s a whisper, it’s one of the greatest battles I will have to fight. 

It’s Ramadan and I can’t fast!

So the blessed month is upon us alhamdulillah! But I know that for us girls we always face one problem, what do we do when we start menstruating and we can’t fast? When everyone around us is fasting and we are unable to. We feel left out and upset that we can’t reap the rewards of fasting in this month. But alhamdulillah this is something that has been given to us by Allah so we shouldn’t feel frustrated by it. It is a blessing that Allah has commanded us not to fast while we are menstruating, we are in pain and we can feel weaker during these days so Allah has given us a “break” so that we can maintain good health. But this doesn’t mean we can do any acts of worship. There are in fact many things we can do during these days to continue to gain rewards even while we aren’t fasting.
1. Listen to the Quran recitation.
The time you would spend reading the Quran, fill that instead with listening to it. There are many recitors that you can listen to. Pay full attention to what is being recited so that you can truly benefit from the recitation.
Allah says: …So give good tidings to my servants who listen to the Quran and follow the best of it… Quran (39:17-18)
2. Read the translation of the Quran.
Most of us can’t understand Arabic so when we read the Quran we don’t actually know what’s being said. So reading the translation in a language you understand is so important. How else will we know what Allah is teaching us. How else will we be able to ponder and reflect on what the Quran is teaching you. 
3. Read the tafsir of the Quran 
When we read the translation we can gain some understanding of what Allah is telling us but it may not always be clear. So we should also read the tafsir of the Quran so that we can gain deeper understanding of the surahs. Now we have access to the Internet so it’s even easier to learn tafsir. You can YouTube videos done by shaykhs on different surahs of the Quran and each video may give you a different perspective so you can understand to a much deeper level. With understanding the Quran better we can implement what we learn easier.
Allah says: (This is) a blessed book which We have revealed to you, (O Muhammad), that they may reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. Quran (38:29)
4. Dhikr of Allah 
Even though we can’t pray our salah we can still do our dhikr, alhamdulillah, subhanAllah, Allahu Akbar. Remembering and glorifying Allah is one of the easiest acts of ibadah yet it is often the most neglected. We can make dhikr while cooking, at work, driving and even while relaxing at home. The more we remember Allah the closer to Him we become. But we should remember Allah in our hearts not just by our tongues. Not making dhikr of Allah will be our greatest regret in the hereafter.
The prophet (saw) said: The people of paradise will not regret anything except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by in which they made no remembrance of Allah. (Bayhaqi)
5. Making abundant dua
Dua is something we should do consistently throughout the year and we should increase it Ramadan. Dua is our way of building a deep and personal relationship with Allah. We need Allah for even the smallest of things yet Allah is not in need of anything from us. So dua is a gift to us from Allah to be able to ask from Him every single thing we need or want. Dua has such great importance that it is mentioned several times by Allah and the prophet (saw). Allah listens to all of our duas, He always responds to every single dua and He wants us to make dua so that He may answer it.
Allah says: And when my servants ask you, (O Muhammad), concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. Quran (2:186)
We should also learn the times in which duas are most accepted. The last third of the night, when it rains, between adhaan and iqamah, the night of qadr, while travelling and at the time of breaking the fast is just some of these times.
6. Increase in islamic knowledge
You may not be able to pray your salah or fast but you can learn and study about how to increase your khushoo in salah or what nullifies your fast. You can spend time studying the seerah of the prophet (saw) or the sahaba or the wives of the prophet (saw). How to get closer to Allah, diseases of the heart and so much more for us to learn about. We should never stop learning and studying and we can use this time to increase our knowledge and try to implement what we learn. We can read books, watch videos online, listen to audio lectures, attend classes in your local area or read articles online. There are so many ways for us to increase our knowledge and it is much easier for us now to access these than it used to be so we should take advantage of this. We are taught the dua to ask Allah to increase our knowledge and this dua is the only dua in which we are told to ask for an increase in anything.
The prophet (saw) said: Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every muslim. (Tirmidhi) 
7. Seek forgiveness 
We should be constantly seeking forgiveness as we are all sinners so we should ask Allah to forgive us for all and every sin we have committed. We should ask Allah to save us from the punishment of the hell fire. We have even been given a special dua to recite during Ramadan and especially to recite this in the last ten nights when we are searching for the night of qadr. 
Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu annee 
O Allah, You are the pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me. (Tirmidhi)
8. Feed a fasting person 
Although we may not be able to fast ourselves we can still gain great reward for providing iftar for others who are fasting. This is actually the best time to invite others to open their fast in your home. You will find it easier to cook as you’re not fasting and you can get the reward for feeding a fasting person.
The prophet (saw) said: whoever gives Iftar to the one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting the reward of the fasting person in the slightest. (Tirmidhi)
9. Give charity or volunteer for a charity organisation 
Be generous in what you give, give as much as you can to reap many rewards. You can feed a poor person, donate to a charitable cause, sponsor an orphan etc. but it doesn’t have to be just money, charity is far more than that. Smiling is a charity, helping an elderly neighbour, babysit for a family member or friend so they can go pray at the masjid, help run a charity event, bake cakes for your neighbours, volunteer at an elderly home, the possibilities are endless. 
Ibn Abbas said: The prophet (saw) was the most generous of the people, and he used to be even more so in the month of Ramadan, he would be more generous than a swift wind (bringing rain). (Bukhari)
There is so much more that you can do aside from what I have listed. Helping your parents and family members, keeping ties of kinship, enjoining good, forbidding evil, giving dawah, we can focus on self-improvement, try and build good habits, get rid of bad habits etc. 
So even though we cannot fast for a few days don’t feel like you will miss out on all the rewards. You can still build that closeness to Allah through many other acts of worship and that is the aim of Ramadan. 
Allah says: …God intends ease for you and does not intend hardship… Quran (2:185)
This is the ayah in which Allah talks about fasting so we should consider it a blessing that Allah has made it easy for us to not only fast but also that he has made it easy for us women who will be menstruating and the weakness that comes at this time. Otherwise we could have faced many difficulties if we had been told to fast at this time. All is indeed Ar-Rahman. Alhamdulillah!