Names of God in Islam

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Inna lillāhإِنا لله
Bismi-llāhبسم الله
In šāʾ Allāhإن شاء الله
Mā šāʾ Allāhما شاء الله
Astaghfirullāhأستغفر الله
Jazakallāhجزاك الله
’A‘ūdhu billāhأعوذ بالله
Fī sabīl Allāhفي سبيل الله
Yarḥamuk-Allāhيرحمك الله
 
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The 99 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]

Origin[edit]

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

According to Islamic tradition,[4] Muhammad is said to have invoked God by a number of names. The most common hadith used to cite the 99 names is considered weak, though there are less commonly cited hadith which are considered authentic and also support the same point.[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"."

Over time, it became custom to recite a list of 99 names, compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim,[citation needed] 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 Ibn Arabi surmized that the 99 names are outward signs of the universe's inner mysteries.[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[edit]

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]

ArabicTransliterationTranslationaUsageType of referenceb
About this sound 1الرحمنAr-RaḥmānThe Exceedingly Compassionate, The Exceedingly Beneficent, The Exceedingly Gracious (to all of humanity and all creatures)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
About this sound 2الرحيمAr-RaḥīmThe Exceedingly MercifulBeginning of every Surah (chapter) except one, and numerous other places (there are a total of 114 Surahs in the Quran.)D
About this sound 3الملكAl-MalikThe King, The Sovereign59:23, 20:114, 23:116D
About this sound 4القدوسAl-QuddūsThe Holy, The Divine, The Pure, The Purifier59:23, 62:1D
About this sound 5السلامAs-SalāmThe Peace, The Source of Peace and Safety59:23D
About this sound 6المؤمنAl-MuʾminThe granter of security59:23D
About this sound 7المهيمنAl-MuhayminThe Controller59:23D
About this sound 8العزيزAl-ʿAzīzThe Almighty, The Invulnerable, The Honorable3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23D
About this sound 9الجبارAl-JabbārThe Irresistible, The Compeller59:23D
About this sound 10المتكبرAl-MutakabbirThe Majestic, The Supreme59:23D
About this sound 11الخالقAl-KhāliqThe Creator6:102, 13:16,[14]36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24D
About this sound 12البارئAl-BāriʾThe Evolver, The Maker59:24D
About this sound 13المصورAl-MuṣawwirThe Fashioner, The Shaper, The Designer59:24D
About this sound 14الغفارAl-GhaffārThe Repeatedly Forgiving20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10D
About this sound 15القهارAl-QahhārThe Subduer12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16D
About this sound 16الوهابAl-WahhābThe Bestower3:8, 38:9, 38:35D
About this sound 17الرزاقAr-RazzāqThe Provider51:58D
About this sound 18الفتاحAl-FattāḥThe Opener, The Victory Giver34:26D
About this sound 19العليمAl-ʿAlīmThe All-Knowing, Omniscient2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40D
About this sound 20القابضAl-QābiḍThe Restrainer, The Straightener2:245V
About this sound 21الباسطAl-BāsiṭThe Extender / Expander2:245V
About this sound 22الخَافِضAl-KhāfiḍThe Abaser, The Humiliator, The Downgrader56:3, see al-Kafʿamī[15]O
About this sound 23الرافعAr-RāfiʿThe Exalter, The Upgrader58:11, 6:83V
About this sound 24المعزAl-MuʿizzThe Giver of Honor3:26V
About this sound 25المذلAl-MuzillThe Giver of Dishonor3:26V
About this sound 26السميعAs-SamīʿThe All-Hearing2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1D
About this sound 27البصيرAl-BaṣīrThe All-Seeing4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27D
About this sound 28الحكمAl-ḤakamThe Judge, The Arbitrator22:69V
About this sound 29العدلAl-ʿAdlThe Utterly Just6:115, See al-Kafʿamī[16]
About this sound 30اللطيفAl-LaṭīfThe Gentle, The Subtly Kind6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34D
About this sound 31الخبيرAl-KhabīrThe All-Aware6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18D
About this sound 32الحليمAl-ḤalīmThe Forbearing, The Indulgent2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41A
About this sound 33العظيمAl-ʿAẓīmThe Magnificent2:255, 42:4, 56:96D
About this sound 34الغفورAl-GhafūrThe Much-Forgiving2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32D
About this sound 35الشكورAsh-ShakūrThe Grateful35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17A
About this sound 36العليAl-ʿAlīyThe Sublime4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51, 34:23D
37الكبيرAl-KabīrThe Great13:9, 22:62, 31:30, 34:23D
38الحفيظAl-ḤafīẓThe Preserver11:57, 34:21, 42:6A
39المقيتAl-MuqītThe Nourisher4:85I
40الحسيبAl-ḤasībThe Bringer of Judgment4:6, 4:86, 33:39I
41الجليلAl-JalīlThe Majestic55:27, 7:143A, V
42الكريمAl-KarīmThe Bountiful, The Generous27:40, 82:6D
43الرقيبAr-RaqībThe Watchful4:1, 5:117D
44المجيبAl-MujībThe Responsive, The Answerer11:61A
45الواسعAl-WāsiʿThe Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The Boundless2:268, 3:73, 5:54A
46الحكيمAl-ḤakīmThe All-Wise31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2D
47الودودAl-WadūdThe Loving11:90, 85:14D
48المجيدAl-MajīdThe All-Glorious, The Majestic11:73A
49الباعثAl-BāʿithThe Resurrector22:7V
50الشهيدAsh-ShahīdThe Witness4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28A
51الحقAl-ḤaqqThe Truth, The Reality6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25D
52الوكيلAl-WakīlThe Trustee, The Dependable, The Advocate3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9A
53القويAl-QawiyThe Strong22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25D
54المتينAl-MatīnThe Firm, The Steadfast51:58D
55الوليAl-WalīThe Friend, Patron and Helper4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19D
56الحميدAl-ḤamīdThe All Praiseworthy14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42D
57المحصيAl-MuḥṣīThe Accounter, The Numberer of All72:28, 78:29V
58المبدئAl-MubdiʾThe Originator, The Producer, The Initiator10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13V
59المعيدAl-MuʿīdThe Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back All10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13V
60المحييAl-MuḥyīThe Giver of Life7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2V
61المميتAl-MumītThe Bringer of Death3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2V
62الحيAl-ḤayyThe Living2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65D
63القيومAl-QayyūmThe Subsisting, The Independent2:255, 3:2, 20:111D
64الواجدAl-WājidThe Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing38:44V
65الماجدAl-MājidThe Illustrious, The Magnificent85:15, 11:73,, see al-Kafʿamī[17]A
66الواحدAl-WāḥidThe One, The Unique13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4D
About this sound 67الاحدAl-ʾAḥadThe Unity, The Indivisible112:1A
68الصمدAṣ-ṢamadThe Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-Sufficient112:2D
69القادرAl-QādirThe All-Powerful, He Who is able to do Everything6:65, 46:33, 75:40D
70المقتدرAl-MuqtadirThe Determiner, The Dominant18:45, 54:42, 54:55A
71المقدمAl-MuqaddimThe Expediter, He Who Brings Forward16:61V
72المؤخرAl-MuʾakhkhirThe Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away71:4V
73الأولAl-ʾAwwalThe First, The Beginning-less57:3D
About this sound 74الأخرAl-ʾAkhirThe Last, The Endless57:3D
75الظاهرAẓ-ẒāhirThe Manifest, The Evident, The Outer57:3D
76الباطنAl-BāṭinThe Hidden, The Unmanifest, The Inner57:3D
77الواليAl-WālīThe Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly Lord13:11I
78المتعاليAl-MutaʿālīThe Supremely Exalted, The Most High13:9D
79البرAl-BarrThe Good, The Beneficent52:28D
80التوابAt-TawwābThe Ever-Returning, Ever-Relenting2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3D
81المنتقمAl-MuntaqimThe Avenger32:22, 43:41, 44:16P
About this sound 82العفوAl-ʿAfūThe Pardoner, The Effacer, The Forgiver4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:60, 58:2V, I
83الرؤوفAr-RaʾūfThe Kind, The Pitying3:30, 9:117, 57:9, 59:10I
84مالك الملكMālik-ul-MulkOwner of all Sovereignty3:26D
85
ذو الجلال والإكرام
Dhū-l-Jalāli
wa-l-ʾikrām
Lord of Majesty and Generosity55:27, 55:78D
86المقسطAl-MuqsiṭThe Equitable, The Requiter7:29, 3:18, See al-Kafʿamī[18]O
87الجامعAl-JāmiʿThe Gatherer, The Unifier3:9I
88الغنيAl-GhanīThe Rich, The Independent3:97, 39:7, 47:38, 57:24I, A, D
89المغنيAl-MughnīThe Enricher, The Emancipator9:28V
90المانعAl-MāniʿThe Withholder, The Shielder, The DefenderSee al-Kafʿamī[19]
About this sound 91الضارAḍ-ḌārrThe Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor6:17, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
92النافعAn-NāfiʿThe Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of Good30:37, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
93النورAn-NūrThe Light24:35I
94الهاديAl-HādīThe Guide, The Way22:54I
95البديعAl-BadīʿThe Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful2:117, 6:101I
96الباقيAl-BāqīThe Immutable, The Infinite, The Everlasting55:27, see al-Kafʿamī[21]V
97الوارثAl-WārithThe Heir, The Inheritor of All15:23, 57:10P
98الرشيدAr-RashīdThe Guide to the Right Path2:256, 72:10, see al-Kafʿamī[21]
99الصبورAṣ-ṢabūrThe Timeless, The Patient2:153, 3:200, 103:3I

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Bábí and Bahá'í view[edit]

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[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming, Marrianne; Worden, David (2004). Religious Studies for AQA; Thinking About God and Morality. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers. ISBN 0-435-30713-4. 
  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. ISBN 1-903682-15-0. 
  4. ^ Ibn Majah, Book of Du`a;[citation needed] 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. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1993). The Mystery of Numbers. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-508919-7. 
  23. ^ Momen, Moojan (2000). Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 241. ISBN 0-85398-446-8.  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. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  28. ^ Khadem, Dhikru'llah (March 1976). "Bahá'u'lláh and His Most Holy Shrine". Bahá'í News (540): 4–5. 
  29. ^ http://www.avesta.org/ka/101names.htm

External links[edit]