Names of God in Islam

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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]

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 surmised 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)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
About this sound 2الرحيمAr-RaḥīmThe Exceedingly MercifulAr-Raḥīm Beginning 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 SovereignAl-Malik, 59:23, 20:114, 23:116D
About this sound 4القدوسAl-QuddūsThe Holy, The Divine, The Pure, The PurifierAl-Quddūs, 59:23, 62:1D
About this sound 5السلامAs-SalāmThe Peace, The Source of Peace and SafetyAs-Salām, 59:23D
About this sound 6المؤمنAl-MuʾminThe granter of securityAl-Muʾmin, 59:23D
About this sound 7المهيمنAl-MuhayminThe ControllerAl-Muhaymin, 59:23D
About this sound 8العزيزAl-ʿAzīzThe Almighty, The Invulnerable, The HonorableAl-ʿAzīz, 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23D
About this sound 9الجبارAl-JabbārThe Irresistible, The CompellerAl-Jabbār, 59:23D
About this sound 10المتكبرAl-MutakabbirThe Majestic, The SupremeAl-Mutakabbir, 59:23D
About this sound 11الخالقAl-KhāliqThe CreatorAl-Khāliq, 6:102, 13:16,[14] 36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24D
About this sound 12البارئAl-BāriʾThe Evolver, The MakerAl-Bāriʾ, 59:24D
About this sound 13المصورAl-MuṣawwirThe Fashioner, The Shaper, The DesignerAl-Muṣawwir, 59:24D
About this sound 14الغفارAl-GhaffārThe Repeatedly ForgivingAl-Ghaffār, 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10D
About this sound 15القهارAl-QahhārThe SubduerAl-Qahhār, 12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16D
About this sound 16الوهابAl-WahhābThe BestowerAl-Wahhāb, 3:18, 38:9, 38:35D
About this sound 17الرزاقAr-RazzāqThe ProviderAr-Razzāq, 51:58D
About this sound 18الفتاحAl-FattāḥThe Opener, The Victory GiverAl-Fattāḥ, 34:26D
About this sound 19العليمAl-ʿAlīmThe All-Knowing, OmniscientAl-ʿAlīm, 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40D
About this sound 20القابضAl-QābiḍThe Restrainer, The StraightenerAl-Qābiḍ, 2:245V
About this sound 21الباسطAl-BāsiṭThe Extender / ExpanderAl-Bāsiṭ, 2:245V
About this sound 22الخَافِضAl-KhāfiḍThe Abaser, The Humiliator, The DowngraderAl-Khāfiḍ, 56:3, see al-Kafʿamī[15]O
About this sound 23الرافعAr-RāfiʿThe Exalter, The UpgraderAr-Rāfiʿ, 58:11, 6:83V
About this sound 24المعزAl-MuʿizzThe Giver of HonorAl-Muʿizz, 3:26V
About this sound 25المذلAl-MuzillThe Giver of DishonorAl-Muzill, 3:26V
About this sound 26السميعAs-SamīʿThe All-HearingAs-Samīʿ, 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1D
About this sound 27البصيرAl-BaṣīrThe All-SeeingAl-Baṣīr, 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27D
About this sound 28الحكمAl-ḤakamThe Judge, The ArbitratorAl-Ḥakam, 22:69V
About this sound 29العدلAl-ʿAdlThe Utterly JustAl-ʿAdl, 6:115, See al-Kafʿamī[16]
About this sound 30اللطيفAl-LaṭīfThe Gentle, The Subtly KindAl-Laṭīf, 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34D
About this sound 31الخبيرAl-KhabīrThe All-AwareAl-Khabīr, 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18D
About this sound 32الحليمAl-ḤalīmThe Forbearing, The IndulgentAl-Ḥalīm, 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41A
About this sound 33العظيمAl-ʿAẓīmThe MagnificentAl-ʿAẓīm, 2:255, 42:4, 56:96D
About this sound 34الغفورAl-GhafūrThe Much-ForgivingAl-Ghafūr, 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32D
About this sound 35الشكورAsh-ShakūrThe GratefulAsh-Shakūr, 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17A
About this sound 36العليAl-ʿAlīThe SublimeAl-ʿAlī, 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51 34:23D
About this sound 37الكبيرAl-KabīrThe GreatAl-Kabīr, 13:9, 22:62, 13:30, 34:23D
About this sound 38الحفيظAl-ḤafīẓThe PreserverAl-Ḥafīẓ, 11:57, 34:21, 42:6A
About this sound 39المقيتAl-MuqītThe NourisherAl-Muqīt, 4:85I
About this sound 40الحسيبAl-ḤasībThe Bringer of JudgmentAl-Ḥasīb, 4:6, 4:86, 33:39I
About this sound 41الجليلAl-JalīlThe MajesticAl-Jalīl, 55:27, 7:143A, V
About this sound 42الكريمAl-KarīmThe Bountiful, The GenerousAl-Karīm, 27:40, 82:6D
About this sound 43الرقيبAr-RaqībThe WatchfulAr-Raqīb, 4:1, 5:117D
About this sound 44المجيبAl-MujībThe Responsive, The AnswererAl-Mujīb, 11:61A
About this sound 45الواسعAl-WāsiʿThe Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The BoundlessAl-Wāsiʿ, 2:268, 3:73, 5:54A
About this sound 46الحكيمAl-ḤakīmThe All-WiseAl-Ḥakīm, 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2D
About this sound 47الودودAl-WadūdThe LovingAl-Wadūd, 11:90, 85:14D
About this sound 48المجيدAl-MajīdThe All-Glorious, The MajesticAl-Majīd, 11:73A
About this sound 49الباعثAl-BāʿithThe ResurrectorAl-Bāʿith, 22:7V
About this sound 50الشهيدAsh-ShahīdThe WitnessAsh-Shahīd, 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28A
About this sound 51الحقAl-ḤaqqThe Truth, The RealityAl-Ḥaqq, 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25D
About this sound 52الوكيلAl-WakīlThe Trustee, The Dependable, The AdvocateAl-Wakīl, 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9A
About this sound 53القويAl-QawiyThe StrongAl-Qawiy, 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25D
About this sound 54المتينAl-MatīnThe Firm, The SteadfastAl-Matīn, 51:58D
About this sound 55الوليAl-WalīThe Friend, Patron and HelperAl-Walī, 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19D
About this sound 56الحميدAl-ḤamīdThe All PraiseworthyAl-Ḥamīd, 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42D
About this sound 57المحصيAl-MuḥseeThe Accounter, The Numberer of AllAl-Muḥṣī, 72:28, 78:29V
About this sound 58المبدئAl-MubdiʾThe Originator, The Producer, The InitiatorAl-Mubdiʾ, 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13V
About this sound 59المعيدAl-MuʿīdThe Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back AllAl-Muʿīd, 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13V
About this sound 60المحييAl-MuḥyīThe Giver of LifeAl-Muḥyī, 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2V
About this sound 61المميتAl-MumītThe Bringer of DeathAl-Mumīt, 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2V
About this sound 62الحيAl-ḤayyThe LivingAl-Ḥayy, 2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65D
About this sound 63القيومAl-QayyūmThe Subsisting, The IndependentAl-Qayyūm, 2:255, 3:2, 20:111D
About this sound 64الواجدAl-WājidThe Perceiver, The Finder, The UnfailingAl-Wājid, 38:44V
About this sound 65الماجدAl-MājidThe Illustrious, The MagnificentAl-Mājid, 85:15, 11:73, see al-Kafʿamī[17]A
About this sound 66الواحدAl-WāḥidThe Unique, The SingleAl-Wāḥid, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4D
About this sound 67الاحدAl-ʾAḥadThe One, The IndivisibleAl-ʾAḥad, 112:1A
About this sound 68الصمدAṣ-ṢamadThe Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-SufficientAṣ-Ṣamad, 112:2D
About this sound 69القادرAl-QādirThe All-Powerful, He Who is able to do EverythingAl-Qādir, 6:65, 46:33, 75:40D
About this sound 70المقتدرAl-MuqtadirThe Determiner, The DominantAl-Muqtadir, 18:45, 54:42, 6:65A
About this sound 71المقدمAl-MuqaddimThe Expediter, He Who Brings ForwardAl-Muqaddim, 16:61V
About this sound 72المؤخرAl-MuʾakhkhirThe Delayer, He Who Puts Far AwayAl-Muʾakhkhir, 71:4V
About this sound 73الأولAl-ʾAwwalThe First, The Beginning-lessAl-ʾAwwal, 57:3D
About this sound 74الأخرAl-ʾAkhirThe Last, The EndlessAl-ʾAkhir, 57:3D
About this sound 75الظاهرAẓ-ẒāhirThe Manifest, The Evident, The OuterAẓ-Ẓāhir, 57:3D
About this sound 76الباطنAl-BāṭinThe Hidden, The Unmanifest, The InnerAl-Bāṭin, 57:3D
About this sound 77الواليAl-WālīThe Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly LordAl-Wālī, 13:11I
About this sound 78المتعاليAl-MutaʿālīThe Supremely Exalted, The Most HighAl-Mutaʿālī, 13:9D
About this sound 79البرAl-BarrThe Good, The BeneficentAl-Barr, 52:28D
About this sound 80التوابAt-TawwābThe Ever-Returning, Ever-RelentingAt-Tawwāb, 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3D
About this sound 81المنتقمAl-MuntaqimThe AvengerAl-Muntaqim, 32:22, 43:41, 44:16P
About this sound 82العفوAl-ʿAfūThe Pardoner, The Effacer, The ForgiverAl-ʿAfū, 4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:60, 58:2V, I
About this sound 83الرؤوفAr-RaʾūfThe Kind, The PityingAr-Raʾūf,3:30, 9:117, 57:9, 59:10I
About this sound 84مالك الملكMālik-ul-MulkOwner of all SovereigntyMālik-ul-Mulk, 3:26D
About this sound 85
ذو الجلال والإكرام
Lord of Majesty and GenerosityDhū-l-Jalāli-wa-l-ʾikrām, 55:27, 55:78D
About this sound 86المقسطAl-MuqsiṭThe Equitable, The RequiterAl-Muqsiṭ,7:29, 3:18, See al-Kafʿamī[18]O
About this sound 87الجامعAl-JāmiʿThe Gatherer, The UnifierAl-Jāmiʿ, 3:9I
About this sound 88الغنيAl-GhanīThe Rich, The IndependentAl-Ghanī,3:97, 39:7, 47:38, 57:24I, A, D
About this sound 89المغنيAl-MughnīThe Enricher, The EmancipatorAl-Mughnī, 9:28V
About this sound 90المانعAl-MāniʿThe Withholder, The Shielder, The DefenderAl-Māniʿ, See al-Kafʿamī[19]
About this sound 91الضارAḍ-ḌārrThe Distressor, The Harmer, The AfflictorAḍ-Ḍārr, 6:17, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
About this sound 92النافعAn-NāfiʿThe Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of GoodAn-Nāfiʿ, 30:37, see al-Kafʿamī[20]
About this sound 93النورAn-NūrThe LightAn-Nūr, 24:35I
About this sound 94الهاديAl-HādīThe Guide, The WayAl-Hādī, 22:54I
About this sound 95البديعAl-BadīʿThe Incomparable, The Unattainable, The BeautifulAl-Badīʿ, 2:117, 6:101I
About this sound 96الباقيAl-BāqīThe Immutable, The Infinite, The EverlastingAl-Bāqī, 55:27, see al-Kafʿamī[21]V
About this sound 97الوارثAl-WārithThe Heir, The Inheritor of AllAl-Wārith, 15:23, 57:10P
About this sound 98الرشيدAr-RashīdThe Guide to the Right PathAr-Rashīd, 2:256, 72:10, see al-Kafʿamī[21]
About this sound 99الصبورAṣ-ṢabūrThe Timeless, The PatientAṣ-Ṣabūr, 2:153, 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]

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. ^ "Al-Quran (القرآن) :: Online Quran Project :: Translation and Tafsir". 
  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. ^ http://www.muslimnamesworld.com/news/information/namegiving/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. 

External links[edit]