14 Feb Why learn the names of Allah swt
Why Learn About the names Allah?
Allah swt is the Creator of this entire universe, the only Master of all the glories, splendours and grandeurs. Asma Ul Husna describe the attributes of Allah swt. We learn about Allah swt and increase our faith. In order to achieve that, we can memorize the sacred names along with the complete understanding of their meanings.
Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said:
Knowledge of the most beautiful names of Allah swt is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge, for the objects of all these other branches of knowledge were either created or commanded by Him (the various branches of knowledge either deal with objects created by Him or with the laws and guidance revealed by Him). The reason for creation and guidance is found in His most beautiful names (because He is the Creator, He creates things; because He is the guide to the straight path, He reveals guidance, and so on) knowing the most beautiful names is the basis of all objects of knowledge, because all knowledge stems from these Names.
All of His names are beautiful, all of His attributes are perfect, all of His actions are based upon pure wisdom, they are beneficial, just and serve as a mercy.
Verses in the Qur’an regarding Calling Allah by His Beautiful Names
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
Allah has the most excellent names; call on Him by them. (Surah Al-A’raf:180)
قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ
O Prophet, say to them: “Whether you call Him Allah or call Him Rahmaan; it is all the same by whichever name you call Him because for Him are all the Finest names.” (Surah Al Isra:110)
Hadith Regarding Memorising the Names of Allah
Abu Huraira RA reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Allah has ninety-nine names and whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
Imam Nawawi (رحمه الله) said, “To preserve them is said to mean to enumerate and count them in one’s supplication by them. It is said it means to persevere in them, to respect them in the best manner, to guard what they require, and to affirm their meanings. And it is said the meaning is to act by them and to obey Allah according to the implications of every name.”
The Names of Allah can only be known through revelation. This is because there is no way of the intellect independently coming to know of them. Allah swt says,
Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of, indeed the hearing, the sight and the hearts will all be questioned. (Surah Al-Isra':36)
Another thing to remember that it is not possible to confine those Names that Allah has kept with Him in the knowledge of the unseen to a particular number. As for the hadith which mentions ninety nine Names, its meaning is that whosoever memorises, understands and implements in his daily life, this number of names will enter Paradise.
There is no one like Him
We need to keep one very important thing in mind when studying the names of the names of Allah swt, that Allah swt says in the Qur’an:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
“There is no one like Him. He Alone hears all and sees all” [Surah Shu’araa:11] meaning there is nothing similar or comparable to Him.
Imam Ghazali says the knowledge is there however it is very limited and very inadequate. When we study the names of Allah swt, it opens up different perspectives as there are different ways Allah swt manifests His attributes and we can understand Allah swt through the way He manifests Himself through His attributes.
Imam Ghazali goes on to give the example of a blind man and colours. His sense of sight will not be able to comprehend the colours. It is like a person who describes the taste of a fruit in different ways however the other person can never fully know what the taste is like. We have five senses however they are very limited and it is like being blind as we cannot really know and understand Allah swt. The only time we will truly realise that sense of knowing Allah swt fully, is in the Aakhirah. Whatever we sense and feel in this world is going to be limited compared to the Aakhirah.