An Introduction to the Lord of the Worlds – Day 9
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Sorry, the editing is not too good today as I’m out of time and I need to sleep.]
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that Allah has more than 99 Names as He has Names which He has kept to Himself.
2) What about the Names of Allah which have been revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah*? Are they only 99 or more than that?
[*Those are the only two places where we can get the Names of Allah.]
Well, I’ve read two opinions on this.
a) Yes, the known names are 99.
b) No, they are more than that.
Group B also differed over the number of Names that have been mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah.
Someone might say: “Has addition become that difficult? Why can’t we just sit and count the Names???”
There’s no need to be sarcastic now.
[I know, I know. Look who’s talking.]
Why did they differ over the number of Names?
Well, it’s because some of them included names in this list which were not Names of Allah.
For example, let’s take the following hadeeth:
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Allah said, “The offspring of Adam curse the dahr (time), and I am Ad-Dahr (the time); in My Hands are the night and the day.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Hadeeth No. 200]
Imam Ibn Hazm (rahimahullah), an early scholar, thought that Ad-Dahr (the time) was one of the Names of Allah, based on this hadeeth.
The rest of the scholars disagreed. They pointed out that this name doesn’t follow some of the rules that the Names need to follow like being beautiful for example (all of Allah’s Names are beautiful but Ad-Dahr is not a beautiful name so it can’t be His Name.)
They understood this hadeeth to mean that Allah is the Owner of time (i.e. He controls it).
So, what’s the correct opinion, you ask? Are the names only 99 or more?
Well, from what I’ve read most scholars seem to think that the known Names are more than 99.
And if you add up the Names in the Quran and Sunnah which are agreed upon as the Names of Allah, you’ll get a hundred-something. And Allah knows Better.
Now, which of these hundred-something Names are the 99 mentioned in the hadeeth (i.e. if you learn them, you enter Paradise)?
Again, I’ve read more than one opinion. Some said that any 99 of these will do.
Others said no, 99 of these were those Names. Based on this, some of the scholars compiled a list of 99 Names (from the hundred-something available) which they believed were the ones that the hadeeth was referring to.
What can we do? Well, I think we should just learn all hundred-something.
Come on, just think of that house in Paradise.
“Wait! Don’t we have a list of the 99 Names of Allah? I have one in my house.”
[Okay, didn’t you even think about the house in Paradise?]
Yeah, you and the rest of the planet.
It seems that one cannot enter a Muslim’s home without getting a mandatory greeting from that list, which is on some wall and is decorated very nicely.
That list though has three problems:
a) The hadeeth which mentions the list is NOT authentic.
[For those who often wonder what an inauthentic or weak hadeeth is, it basically means a hadeeth that cannot be relied upon or used as a proof. There is not much chance that it is from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).]
Says who, you say?
Well, a whole lots of scholars. For those who know Arabic, check this.
b) There are other Names which are mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah which are not mentioned in this list.
c) The list contains some Names which are not found anywhere else (apart from this weak hadeeth).
Note: Most of the Names of this list are authentic but not all. So it’s just some of them that are the issue.
The whole irony is that the scholars seem pretty much unanimous in their belief that this is not an authentic hadeeth yet most people have the list mentioned in it in their homes!
Someone might ask “How can the list be wrong when everyone uses it??”
Well, that’s like asking “How can shirk (attributing partners to Allah) be wrong when the majority of people are on it?”
Or like saying “How can worshipping Isa (alaihissalam) be wrong when almost 2 billion people do it?”
Who cares what most people think? Allah has mentioned over and over again in the Quran that the majority of people don’t know, don’t think and also hate the truth.
The point is this: Just because something is well-known doesn’t mean that it is correct.
What we all need to do is try as much as possible to get the proof for everything that we do. Also, we need to try to recheck what we listen to or read (even if it is on this blog!).
Everyone makes mistakes so we shouldn’t blindly follow anybody (except the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
Now, someone might say “What’s the harm in using this list?”
Well, if you remove the inauthentic names, then nothing is wrong with using it. However, we can’t use the inauthentic names because they are not the Names of Allah, and we can’t just invent new names for Allah!
3) We need to understand the purpose of knowing the Names of Allah.
The first reason is to know more about Him. The second is to call Him using those names.
The purpose of knowing the Names is not to decorate our walls with them.
You know what’s really sad?
A person will have this list hanging on a wall in the living room where she’ll be watching the latest soap opera or some other rubbish on television.
Hmmm…Two of the names on this list are As-Samee (the All-Hearer) and Al-Baseer (the All-Seer).
So, this person has a reminder on her wall basically saying that Allah hears and sees everything that she is doing and she doesn’t even realise it.
How sad is that?
And this “ornament” that she put up on the wall will be a witness against her on the Last Day.
A warning before I proceed further: I’ve noticed that many people put up this decoration piece which has Allah and Muhammad mentioned side by side.
I always thought that it didn’t look right and then I heard it mentioned in a lecture that this was incorrect.
Why? Well, it sort of implies that Allah and Muhammad are equals, astaghfirullah.
That’s being too picky, you say?
Well, if we’re not going to be picky with the rights of Allah, then what are we going to be picky with? Our children’s food?
Another warning: Some people go one step further and put a list of the 99 names of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) on their walls (right next to the 99 names of Allah!).
Firstly, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) doesn’t have 99 names.
Secondly, don’t you think that this is opening the doors of shirk?
Putting up these kinds of things (“99 names of the Prophet”) simply helps Shaytaan, because people will then ignorantly equate the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with Allah!
Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of Muslims out there who basically worship the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) . They say that he is everywhere and that he’s made of light. They call out to him for help – and this is shirk. May Allah save us from such misguidance.
4) We need to call Him using these Names.
One of the things that we do use the Names for is doing dua (supplication) to Allah.
This is one of the accepted ways of tawassul (seeking nearness to Allah).
How do we call Him using them?
Well, you use the Name that fits the dua.
For example, suppose you want to seek His Forgiveness. Use His Names that are relevant to this like Ar-Raheem, Ar-Rahman, Al-Ghaffar and Al-Ghafoor, for example.
If you want to ask for a job, you could call Him by His Name Ar-Razzaq (the Provider).
Look at the following dua of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and see how he did it:
علمني الدعاء أدعو به في صلاتي قال : قل : اللهم إني ظلمت نفسي ظلما كثيرا ، ولا يغفر الذنوب إلا أنت ، فاغفر لي مغفرة من عندك ، وارحمني ، إنك أنت الغفور الرحيم
Narrated Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (radiallahu anhu): I asked Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to teach me an invocation so that I may invoke Allah with it in my prayer. He told me to say, “Allahumma inni zalumtu nafsi zulman kathiran, Wala yaghfirudhdhunuba illa anta faghfirli maghfiratan min ‘Indika, war-hamni innaka antal-ghafururrahim (O Allah! I have done great injustice to myself and none except You forgives sins, so please forgive me and be Merciful to me as You are the Forgiver, the Merciful).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 796]
Point of benefit #1: This supplication is meant to be recited after the salah on the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and before the tasleem (the end of the prayer).
Point of benefit # 2: Look at who was taught this dua – the greatest man of this ummah (nation) after the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)! If he has “greatly oppressed himself”, I shudder to think about our state.
Also, here’s the dua of Ibrahim (alaihissalam) and Ismail (alahissalam) after they built the Kaabah:
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Ismail were raising the foundations of the House (the Kabah at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Hajj and Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.”
رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Quran) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and sanctify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”
[Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 127-129]
Point of benefit: Notice that these two great Prophets are building the kaabah and then they ask Allah to accept this deed! We should always do the same and always ask Allah to accept our actions, because this is the most important thing.
5) Allah did not teach us His Names so that we could mindlessly repeat them like parrots.
Sadly, this is what many Muslims were taught to do – just memorise these names and repeat them as many times as possible.
[I believe they even sing the Names of Allah, astaghfirullah.]
What is the point of a name? It’s for identification and to call the owner of the name.
Imagine if I were calling someone and I said:
“Maryam! Maryam! Maryam! Maryam!Maryam! Maryam!”
“Maryam! Maryam! Maryam! Maryam!Maryam! Maryam!”
“Maryam! Maryam! Maryam! Maryam!Maryam! Maryam!”
“What do you want?????????”
We expect that when someone calls us, they want something from us.We would never mindlessly repeat someone’s name.
Then why do we mindlessly repeat Allah’s Names when He has told us to CALL Him using those Names? He never asked us to repeat them a zillion times.
Sadly, people are doing just that – and it seems some of them just stick to the pronoun (“hoo! hoo! hoo!”).
Someone might say “Oh but what’s the harm?”
What’s the harm? The harm is that we think that we are doing something very good when in reality we are not.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum) NEVER did this. If someone says that they did, then let them bring an authentic hadeeth as the proof.
I recall reading one (deviant) book where it was stated that if you repeated An-Noor (the Light) a certain number of times, that you would get noor (light) on your face!
Yeah, I’ll just stick to yoghurt and dates, thanks. Thy do the trick.
The question is: Where did the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) say that repeating An-Noor gives you noor??
If you say “X Name needs to be repeated this many times” or “Repeating X Name gives you this”, you need to bring the proof, because this religion is based upon proof, not our desires.
So, I would advise everyone to be very careful with what how they use the Names of Allah.
Insha-Allah, in tomorrow’s post I’ll mention the differences between the Names and the Attributes of Allah. I’ll also mention some of His Names and explain how they pertain to us.
And Allah knows Better.