Names of God in Islam

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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 Qur'an 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 Qur'an 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 Allah 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 Qur'an 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 Qur'an with a smaller number appearing exclusively in the hadith.[5][9][10][11] The total number of all names in both the Qur'an 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 Qur'an, 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]

List of names of God as found in the Qur'an[edit]

Arabic Transliteration Translationa Qur'anic usage Type of referenceb
About this sound 1 الرحمن Ar-Raḥmān The 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 2 الرحيم Ar-Raḥīm The Exceedingly Merciful 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 3 الملك Al-Malik The King, The Sovereign 59:23, 20:114, 23:116 D
About this sound 4 القدوس Al-Quddūs The Holy, The Divine, The Pure, The Purifier 59:23, 62:1 D
About this sound 5 السلام As-Salām The Peace, The Source of Peace and Safety 59:23 D
About this sound 6 المؤمن Al-Muʾmin The granter of security 59:23 D
About this sound 7 المهيمن Al-Muhaymin The Controller 59:23 D
About this sound 8 العزيز Al-ʿAzīz The Almighty, The Invulnerable, The Honorable 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23 D
About this sound 9 الجبار Al-Jabbār The Irresistible, The Compeller 59:23 D
About this sound 10 المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Majestic, The Supreme 59:23 D
About this sound 11 الخالق Al-Khāliq The Creator 6:102, 13:16, [14]36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24 D
About this sound 12 البارئ Al-Bāriʾ The Evolver, The Maker 59:24 D
About this sound 13 المصور Al-Muṣawwir The Fashioner, The Shaper, The Designer 59:24 D
About this sound 14 الغفار Al-Ghaffār The Repeatedly Forgiving 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10 D
About this sound 15 القهار Al-Qahhār The Subduer 12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16 D
About this sound 16 الوهاب Al-Wahhāb The Bestower 3:8, 38:9, 38:35 D
About this sound 17 الرزاق Ar-Razzāq The Provider 51:58 D
About this sound 18 الفتاح Al-Fattāḥ The Opener, The Victory Giver 34:26 D
About this sound 19 العليم Al-ʿAlīm The All-Knowing, Omniscient 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40 D
About this sound 20 القابض Al-Qābiḍ The Restrainer, The Straightener 2:245 V
About this sound 21 الباسط Al-Bāsiṭ The Extender / Expander 2:245 V
About this sound 22 الخَافِض Al-Khāfiḍ The Abaser, The Humiliator, The Downgrader 56:3
About this sound 23 الرافع Ar-Rāfiʿ The Exalter, The Upgrader 58:11, 6:83 V
About this sound 24 المعز Al-Muʿizz The Giver of Honor 3:26 V
About this sound 25 المذل Al-Muzill The Giver of Dishonor 3:26 V
About this sound 26 السميع As-Samīʿ The All-Hearing 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1 D
About this sound 27 البصير Al-Baṣīr The All-Seeing 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27 D
About this sound 28 الحكم Al-Ḥakam The Judge, The Arbitrator 22:69
About this sound 29 العدل Al-ʿAdl The Utterly Just 6:115
About this sound 30 اللطيف Al-Laṭīf The Gentle, The Subtly Kind 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34 D
About this sound 31 الخبير Al-Khabīr The All-Aware 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18 D
About this sound 32 الحليم Al-Ḥalīm The Forbearing, The Indulgent 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41 A
About this sound 33 العظيم Al-ʿAẓīm The Magnificent 2:255, 42:4, 56:96 D
About this sound 34 الغفور Al-Ghafūr The Much-Forgiving 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32 D
About this sound 35 الشكور Ash-Shakūr The Grateful 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17 A
About this sound 36 العلي Al-ʿAlīy The Sublime 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51 ,34:23 D
37 الكبير Al-Kabīr The Great 13:9, 22:62, 31:30, 34:23 D
38 الحفيظ Al-Ḥafīẓ The Preserver 11:57, 34:21, 42:6 A
39 المقيت Al-Muqīt The Nourisher 4:85 I
40 الحسيب Al-Ḥasīb The Bringer of Judgment 4:6, 4:86, 33:39 I
41 الجليل Al-Jalīl The Majestic 55:27, 7:143
42 الكريم Al-Karīm The Bountiful, The Generous 27:40, 82:6 D
43 الرقيب Ar-Raqīb The Watchful 4:1, 5:117 D
44 المجيب Al-Mujīb The Responsive, The Answerer 11:61 A
45 الواسع Al-Wāsiʿ The Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The Boundless 2:268, 3:73, 5:54 A
46 الحكيم Al-Ḥakīm The All-Wise 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2 D
47 الودود Al-Wadūd The Loving 11:90, 85:14 D
48 المجيد Al-Majīd The All-Glorious, The Majestic 11:73 A
49 الباعث Al-Bāʿith The Resurrector 22:7 V
50 الشهيد Ash-Shahīd The Witness 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28 A
51 الحق Al-Ḥaqq The Truth, The Reality 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25 D
52 الوكيل Al-Wakīl The Trustee, The Dependable, The Advocate 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9 A
53 القوي Al-Qawwī The Strong 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25 D
54 المتين Al-Matīn The Firm, The Steadfast 51:58 D
55 الولي Al-Walī The Friend, Patron and Helper 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19 D
56 الحميد Al-Ḥamīd The All Praiseworthy 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42 D
57 المحصي Al-Muḥṣī The Accounter, The Numberer of All 72:28, 78:29 V
58 المبدئ Al-Mubdiʾ The Originator, The Producer, The Initiator 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
59 المعيد Al-Muʿīd The Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back All 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
60 المحيي Al-Muḥyī The Giver of Life 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2 V
61 المميت Al-Mumīt The Bringer of Death 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2 V
62 الحي Al-Ḥayy The Living 2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65 D
63 القيوم Al-Qayyūm The Subsisting, The Independent 2:255, 3:2, 20:111 D
64 الواجد Al-Wājid The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing 38:44 V
65 الماجد Al-Mājid The Illustrious, The Magnificent 85:15, 11:73,
66 الواحد Al-Wāḥid The One, The Unique 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4 D
About this sound 67 الاحد Al-ʾAḥad The Unity, The Indivisible 112:1 A
68 الصمد Aṣ-Ṣamad The Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-Sufficient 112:2 D
69 القادر Al-Qādir The All-Powerful, He Who is able to do Everything 6:65, 46:33, 75:40 D
70 المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The Determiner, The Dominant 18:45, 54:42, 54:55 A
71 المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward 16:61 V
72 المؤخر Al-Muʾakhkhir The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away 71:4 V
73 الأول Al-ʾAwwal The First, The Beginning-less 57:3 D
About this sound 74 الأخر Al-ʾAkhir The Last, The Endless 57:3 D
75 الظاهر Aẓ-Ẓāhir The Manifest, The Evident, The Outer 57:3 D
76 الباطن Al-Bāṭin The Hidden, The Unmanifest, The Inner 57:3 D
77 الوالي Al-Wālī The Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly Lord 13:11 I
78 المتعالي Al-Mutaʿālī The Supremely Exalted, The Most High 13:9 D
79 البر Al-Barr The Good, The Beneficent 52:28 D
80 التواب At-Tawwāb The Ever-Returning, Ever-Relenting 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3 D
81 المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger 32:22, 43:41, 44:16 P
About this sound 82 العفو Al-ʿAfū The Pardoner, The Effacer, The Forgiver 4:99, 4:149, 22:60 V, I
83 الرؤوف Ar-Raʾūf The Kind, The Pitying 3:30, 9:117, 57:9, 59:10 I
84 مالك الملك Mālik-ul-Mulk Owner of all Sovereignty 3:26 D
85
ذو الجلال والإكرام
Dhū-l-Jalāli
wa-l-ʾikrām
Lord of Majesty and Generosity 55:27, 55:78 D
86 المقسط Al-Muqsiṭ The Equitable, The Requiter 7:29, 3:18
87 الجامع Al-Jāmiʿ The Gatherer, The Unifier 3:9 I
88 الغني Al-Ghanī The Rich, The Independent 3:97, 39:7, 47:38, 57:24 I, A, D
89 المغني Al-Mughnī The Enricher, The Emancipator 9:28 V
90 المانع Al-Māniʿ The Withholder, The Shielder, The Defender 67:21
About this sound 91 الضار Aḍ-Ḍārr The Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor 6:17
92 النافع An-Nāfiʿ The Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of Good 30:37
93 النور An-Nūr The Light 24:35 I
94 الهادي Al-Hādī The Guide, The Way 22:54 I
95 البديع Al-Badīʿ The Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful 2:117, 6:101 I
96 الباقي Al-Bāqī The Immutable, The Infinite, The Everlasting 55:27
97 الوارث Al-Wārith The Heir, The Inheritor of All 15:23, 57:10 P
98 الرشيد Ar-Rashīd The Guide to the Right Path 2:256, 72:10
99 الصبور Aṣ-Ṣabūr The Timeless, The Patient 2:153, 3:200, 103:3 I

a Can vary based on context.      b D = Direct; V = from Verb; A = from Adjective; I = from Indefinite noun; P = from Plural noun

The Greatest Name[edit]

The 99 names point to the inherent unity of the all-embracing Greatest Name (Ismi Azam).[15] 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."[16]

Personal names[edit]

According to Islamic tradition,[17] a Muslim may not be given any of the 99 names of Allah 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 Allah is almighty, and no human being is the equivalent of Allah, and no human being will ever be the equivalent of Allah. Muslims are allowed to use the 99 names of Allah for themselves but should not put 'Al' at the front of them.[18]

However the names of Allah can be combined with the word "‘Abd-" which means "servant/Worshiper" (of Allah) 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 Allah"). (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'.[19][20] The Báb wrote a noted pentagram-shaped tablet with 360 derivatives of the word "Bahá'" used in it.[19]

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.[19] 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".[21]

Zoroastrianism[edit]

Some names of Allah are similar to 101 names of Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.[22]

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. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1993). The Mystery of Numbers. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-508919-7. 
  16. ^ 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."
  17. ^ Islam-QA website Are there any names which it is forbidden to use? If so, what are they?
  18. ^ Prohibited Muslim Names.
  19. ^ a b c Lambden, Stephen (1993). "The Word Bahá': Quintessence of the Greatest Name". Bahá'í Studies Review 3 (1). 
  20. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "greatest name". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 167–8. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  21. ^ Khadem, Dhikru'llah (March 1976). "Bahá'u'lláh and His Most Holy Shrine". Bahá'í News (540): 4–5. 
  22. ^ http://www.avesta.org/ka/101names.htm

External links[edit]