Names of God in Islam

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According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎‎) "Beautiful Names of God" ( also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā "Beautiful Names").[1][2]

According to 9th-century collections of hadith, the tradition of there being "99 names" is sahih (reliable), while the tradition of the actual list of 99 names as given by some collectors, in at least three different variants, is stated to be gharib (scarce, unreliable).[3] Most names in these lists are divine epithets taken from the text of the Quran, with a minority based in oral tradition or Sunnah. The lists of names vary because there are more than 99 such epithets to choose from.

Origin[edit]

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

In the hadith, Muhammad is said to have invoked God by a number of names.[4] The origin of the number 99 specifically is commonly attributed to a hadith[which?] considered weak,[according to whom?] although there are less-commonly cited hadith that are considered authentic and also support the same point.[5] According to Sahih Muslim, 35:6475:

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 and He loves odd numbers. And in the narration of Ibn 'Umar [the words are]: 'He who enumerated them'."

The Quran refers to God's "most beautiful Names" (al-ʾasmāʾ al-ḥusná).[6] Gerhard Böwering[who?][year needed] refers to Sura 17:110 as the locus classicus to which explicit lists of 99 names used to be attached in Quranic commentary. A cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets which are included in such lists is found in Sura 22:22–24. Mystic philosopher Ibn Arabi surmised that the 99 names are "outward signs of the universe's inner mysteries".[clarification needed][5]

Most, though not all, of the traditionally listed 99 names are found somewhere in the Quran itself. The others are taken from the hadith.[5][7][8]

The list is not necessarily fixed, as more than 99 divine epithets can be adduced from Quran and hadith combined,[9] although the list of names given in modern sources is mostly that compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim.[year needed][citation needed]

Lists of names[edit]

There is no universal agreement among Muslims as to what exactly counts as a name of Allah, 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]

The following list is based on the one found in the Jamiʿ at-Tirmidhi (9th century). Other hadith, such as those of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim or Ibn ʿAsākir, have variant lists. All attribute the original compilation of the list of names to Abu Hurairah.

Al-Tirmidhi comments on his list: "This (version of the) hadith is gharib [unusual, scarce]; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one." Various early Muslim exegetes, including Jaʿfar al-Sadiq, Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, Ibn Hazm, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, have given their own versions of lists of 99 names.[10]

Arabic Transliteration Translationa Reference grammatical typeb
About this sound 1 الرحمن Ar-Rahman The Exceedingly Merciful (Compassionate) Quran: 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-Rahim The Merciful (Compassionate) Quran: 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 59:23, 20:114, 23:116 D
About this sound 4 القدوس Al-Quddus The Holy 59:23, 62:1 D
About this sound 5 السلام As-Salam The Peace 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-Aziz The Powerful 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23 D
About this sound 9 الجبار Al-Jabbar The Strong 59:23 D
About this sound 10 المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Supreme 59:23 D[clarification needed]
mutafaʿʿil
About this sound 11 الخالق Al-Khaliq The Creator 6:102, 13:16,[11] 36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24 D
About this sound 12 البارئ Al-Bariʾ The Evolver, The Maker 59:24 D
About this sound 13 المصور Al-Musawwir The Fashioner, The Shaper, The Designer 59:24 D
About this sound 14 الغفار Al-Ghaffar The Repeatedly Forgiving 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10 D
About this sound 15 القهار Al-Qahhar The Subduer 12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16 D
About this sound 16 الوهاب Al-Wahhab The Bestower 3:18, 38:9, 38:35 D
About this sound 17 الرزاق Ar-Razzaq The Provider, The Sustainer 51:58 D
About this sound 18 الفتاح Al-Fattah The Opener, The Victory Giver 34:26 D
About this sound 19 العليم Al-ʿAlim The Knowing 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40 D
About this sound 20 القابض Al-Qabid The Restrainer, The Straightener 2:245 V
About this sound 21 الباسط Al-Basit The Extender / Expander 2:245 V
About this sound 22 الخَافِض Al-Khafid The Abaser, The Humiliator, The Downgrader 56:3; al-Kafʿamī (1992:38) O
About this sound 23 الرافع Ar-Rafiʿ 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-Samiʿ The Hearing 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1 D
About this sound 27 البصير Al-Basir The All-Seeing 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27 D
About this sound 28 الحكم Al-Hakam The Judge, The Arbitrator 22:69 V
About this sound 29 العدل Al-ʿAdl The Just Not Quranic, see al-Kafʿamī (1992:40)
About this sound 30 اللطيف Al-Latif The Gentle, The Subtly Kind 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34 D
About this sound 31 الخبير Al-Khabir The All-Aware 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18 D
About this sound 32 الحليم Al-Halim The Forbearing, The Indulgent 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41 A
About this sound 33 العظيم Al-ʿAzim The Great, The Magnificent 2:255, 42:4, 56:96 D
About this sound 34 الغفور Al-Ghafur The Much-Forgiving 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32 D
About this sound 35 الشكور Ash-Shakur The Grateful 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17 A
About this sound 36 العلي Al-ʿAlī The Sublime 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51 34:23 D
About this sound 37 الكبير Al-Kabir The Great 13:9, 22:62, 13:30, 34:23 D
About this sound 38 الحفيظ Al-Hafiz The Preserver 11:57, 34:21, 42:6 A
About this sound 39 المقيت Al-Muqit The Nourisher 4:85 I
About this sound 40 الحسيب Al-Hasib The Bringer of Judgment 4:6, 4:86, 33:39 I
About this sound 41 الجليل Al-Jalil The Majestic, The Exalted 55:27, 7:143 A, V
About this sound 42 الكريم Al-Karim The Bountiful, The Generous 27:40, 82:6 D
About this sound 43 الرقيب Ar-Raqib The Watchful 4:1, 5:117 D
About this sound 44 المجيب Al-Mujib The Responsive, The Answerer 11:61 A
About this sound 45 الواسع Al-Wasiʿ The Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The Boundless 2:268, 3:73, 5:54 A
About this sound 46 الحكيم Al-Hakim The Wise 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2 D
About this sound 47 الودود Al-Wadud The Loving 11:90, 85:14 D
About this sound 48 المجيد Al-Majid The All-Glorious, The Majestic 11:73 A
About this sound 49 الباعث Al-Baʿith The Resurrector 22:7 V
About this sound 50 الشهيد Ash-Shahid The Witness 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28 A
About this sound 51 الحق Al-Haqq The Truth, The Reality 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25 D
About this sound 52 الوكيل Al-Wakil The Trustee, The Dependable, The Advocate 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9 A
About this sound 53 القوي Al-Qawiy The Strong 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25 D
About this sound 54 المتين Al-Matin The Firm, The Steadfast 51:58 D
About this sound 55 الولي Al-Wali The Friend, Helper 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19 D
About this sound 56 الحميد Al-Hamid The All Praiseworthy 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42 D
About this sound 57 المحصي Al-Muhsi The Accounter, The Numberer of All 72:28, 78:29 V
About this sound 58 المبدئ Al-Mubdiʾ The Originator, The Producer, The Initiator 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
About this sound 59 المعيد Al-Muʿid The Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back All 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
About this sound 60 المحيي Al-Muhyi The Giver of Life 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2 V
About this sound 61 المميت Al-Mumit The Bringer of Death 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2 V
About this sound 62 الحي Al-Hayy The Living 2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65 D
About this sound 63 القيوم Al-Qayyum The Subsisting, The Independent 2:255, 3:2, 20:111 D
About this sound 64 الواجد Al-Wajid The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing 38:44 V
About this sound 65 الماجد Al-Majid The Illustrious, The Magnificent 85:15, 11:73; al-Kafʿamī (1992:48) A
About this sound 66 الواحد Al-Wahid The Unique, The Single 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4 D
About this sound 67 الاحد Al-Ahad The One, The Indivisible 112:1 A
About this sound 68 الصمد As-Samad The Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-Sufficient 112:2 D
About this sound 69 القادر Al-Qadir The All-Powerful, He Who is able to do Everything 6:65, 46:33, 75:40 D
About this sound 70 المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The Determiner, The Dominant 18:45, 54:42, 6:65 A
About this sound 71 المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward 16:61 V
About this sound 72 المؤخر Al-Muʾakhkhir The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away 71:4 V
About this sound 73 الأول Al-Awwal The First, The Beginning-less 57:3 D
About this sound 74 الأخر Al-Aakhir The Last, The Endless 57:3 D
About this sound 75 الظاهر Az-Zahir The Manifest, The Evident, The Outer 57:3 D
About this sound 76 الباطن Al-Batin The Hidden, The Unmanifest, The Inner 57:3 D
About this sound 77 الوالي Al-Wali The Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly Lord 13:11 I
About this sound 78 المتعالي Al-Mutaʿali The Supremely Exalted, The Most High 13:9 D
About this sound 79 البر Al-Barr The Good, The Beneficent 52:28 D
About this sound 80 التواب At-Tawwab The Ever-Returning, Ever-Relenting 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3 D
About this sound 81 المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger 32:22, 43:41, 44:16 P
About this sound 82 العفو Al-ʿAfu The Pardoner, The Effacer, The Forgiver 4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:60, 58:2 V, I
About this sound 83 الرؤوف Ar-Raʾuf The Kind, The Pitying 9:117, 57:9, 59:10 I
About this sound 84 مالك الملك Malik-ul-Mulk The Owner of all Sovereignty 3:26 D
About this sound 85
ذو الجلال والإكرام
Zul-Jalali
wal-Ikram
The Lord of Majesty and Generosity 55:27, 55:78 D
About this sound 86 المقسط Al-Muqsit The Equitable, The Requiter 3:18; al-Kafʿamī (1992:58f) O
About this sound 87 الجامع Al-Jamiʿ The Gatherer, The Unifier 3:9 I
About this sound 88 الغني Al-Ghani The Rich, The Independent 39:7, 47:38, 57:24 I, A, D
About this sound 89 المغني Al-Mughni The Enricher, The Emancipator 9:28 V
About this sound 90 المانع Al-Maniʿ The Withholder, The Shielder, The Defender See al-Kafʿamī (1992:61)
About this sound 91 الضار Ad-Darr The Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor 6:17; al-Kafʿamī (1992:58)
About this sound 92 النافع An-Nafiʿ The Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of Good 30:37
About this sound 93 النور An-Nur The Light 24:35 I
About this sound 94 الهادي Al-Hadi The Guide, The Way 22:54 I
About this sound 95 البديع Al-Badiʿ The Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful 2:117, 6:101 I
About this sound 96 الباقي Al-Baqi The Immutable, The Infinite, The Everlasting 55:27; al-Kafʿamī (1992:64) V
About this sound 97 الوارث Al-Warith The Heir, The Inheritor of All 15:23, 57:10 P
About this sound 98 الرشيد Ar-Rashid The Guide to the Right Path 2:256, 72:10
About this sound 99 الصبور As-Sabur The Timeless, The Patient 2:153, 3:200, 103:3 I

a[by whom?].      b D = Direct;[clarification needed] V = from Verb; A = from Adjective or Adjectival Phrase; I = from Indefinite noun; P = from Plural noun; O = Other

Islamic mysticism[edit]

In Islamic mysticism there is a tradition to the effect that the 99 names of God point to a mystical "Greatest Name" (Ismul A'dham, الإسم الأعظم).[12] This "Greatest Name of Allah" is said to be "the one which if He [Allah] is called (prayed to) by it, He will Answer."[13]

According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Masud, some of the names of God have also been hidden from mankind.[14]

Theophoric given names[edit]

A Muslim may not be given any of the 99 names of God in exactly the same form.[citation needed] 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.[15]

However the names of God can be combined with the word "‘Abd-", which means "slave" (of God) and are commonly used as Arabic name among Muslims, such as Abd al-Rahman. 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: ʿabdu.)

Some Muslim people have names resembling those 99. Examples include:

Use in Bahá'í[edit]

Bahá'í sources state that the 100th name was revealed as "Bahá’" (Arabic: بهاء‎‎ "glory, splendor"), which appears in the words Bahá'u'lláh and Bahá'í. They also believe that it is the greatest name of God.[16][17] The Báb wrote a noted pentagram-shaped tablet with 360 derivatives of the word "Bahá'" used in it.[16]

According to Bahá'í scholar ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī adopted the Persian poetic pen name "Bahāʾ" after being inspired by the words of the fifth Twelver Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, and the sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, who stated that the greatest name of God was included in either the Duʿāʾu l-Bahāʾ, a dawn prayer for Ramadan, or the Aʿmal ʿam Dawūd.[16] In the first verse of the duʿāʾu l-Bahāʾ, the name "Bahāʾ" appears four times.[18]

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ Al-Tirmidhi says in his Sunan, "This (version of the) hadith is [unusual, scarce]; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one." Richard Shelquist (wahiduddin.net)[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Ibn Majah, Book of Duʿa;[citation needed] Malik ibn Anas, Muwatta Imam Malik.
  5. ^ a b c d Diane Morgan, Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice, p. 10. Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2010. ISBN 9780313360251
  6. ^ See the surahs "al-A'raf" (7:180), "al-Isra" (17:110), "Ta-Ha" (20:8) and "al-Hashr" (59:24).
  7. ^ Martin Parsons, Unveiling God, pg. 206. William Carey Library, 2005. ISBN 9780878084548
  8. ^ Juan Eduardo Campo, Encyclopedia of Islam, pg. 515. Infobase Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781438126968
  9. ^ 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. The 99 names of Allah; the ‘Most Beautiful Names’ at BBC Online. Accessed 8 April 2014.
  10. ^ Suhaib Hassan, Introduction to the Science of Hadith Classification (ahya), cited after Richard Shelquist (wahiduddin.net)[unreliable source?]
  11. ^ "Al-Quran (القرآن) :: Online Quran Project :: Translation and Tafsir". 
  12. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1993). The Mystery of Numbers. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-508919-7. 
  13. ^ 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 tradition include: Majlisí, Bihár al-Anwár, vol. 26. p. 7."
  14. ^ Taymiyya, Ibn. The Goodly Word: al-Kalim al-Ṭayyib. Islamic Texts Society. p. 72. ISBN 1-903682-15-0. 
  15. ^ [1] Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ a b c Lambden, Stephen (1993). "The Word Bahá': Quintessence of the Greatest Name". Bahá'í Studies Review. 3 (1). 
  17. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "greatest name". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 167–8. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  18. ^ Khadem, Dhikru'llah (March 1976). "Bahá'u'lláh and His Most Holy Shrine". Bahá'í News (540): 4–5. 

External links[edit]