Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What is the name of Allah??

What is the name of Allah?

By: Khurshid Imam

A. Introduction

It is said - "There are 99 attributive names of Allah and Allah is the personal name of God".

Questions are raised:
·       Can God have personal name?
·       All attributives names are in Arabic only?
·       What about names for God in other languages?
·       Is Allah the "Arabic" God?

B. Has Allah only 99 names?

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah has ninety-nine Names, i.e., one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise; and Allah is Witr (one) and loves 'the Witr' (i.e., odd numbers). Sahih Bukhari, Book #75, Hadith #419

Scholars like Imam Nawawi, Ibn Taimiyah, Ibnul Qayyim etc hold the position that names of Allah are NOT limited to 99.

There is another Hadees which proves existence of numerous names of Allah.

O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your female slave, my forelock is in Your hand, your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You Which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety– but Allaah will take away his sorrow and grief, and give him in their stead joy.”
Source: Musnad Ahmad 1/391 and Al-Albaanee declared it sahih.

C. List of 99 names of Allah: reality or fabrication?

There is a Hadees in Trimdhi that speaks about certain 99 names of Allah. This Hadees has been judged weak by many hadith scholars such as al-Tirmidhi himself, al-Nawawi, ibn Hajar, ibn Taymiyyah, ibn al-Qayyim, ibn Kathir, al-San’ani and others. The list of 99 names was inserted by the narrator Al Walid Ibn Muslim and was not told by the Prophet.

D. Names of God are not confined to numbers or languages.

"Say: "Call Allah or call Al Rahmaan (Most Gracious), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the most beautiful Names (Asma ul husna)"- Quran, Surah Isra 17:110

1. The Ayah says that whether you call Allah or Al-Rahman; you can call him by any name; all beautiful names belong to him.
2. There is no limitation on number of names or attributes of Allah.
3. There is no personal name of almighty God. All names of God are attributive names.

It is also fact that even before the revelation of Quran, Arabs used to refer ‘Allah’ for Almighty God. It’s a misconception that Quran brought or renewed the name ‘Allah’ for Almighty God.

In simple words – ‘Allah’ refers to Al+Ilah = one who is worthy to be worshiped. The root of word ‘Allah’ is ‘ilah’ which has close resemblance with the Hebrew word ‘iloh’ [‘Elohim’ in Hebrew refers to God].
Arabic speaking Christian and Jew also use word ‘Allah’ to refer to the Almighty God.

Note: I am aware of some people's opinion that Allah is not made up of Al+ilah rather its one personal name of God. I respect their view but find it wrong because it is based on the wrong assumption that Almighty God has personal name Allah.

E. More than 99 names found in Quran

1. There are various names mentioned in the Quran as well as in the hadith that are not amongst the 99 Names as mentioned in the Suunan Trimdhi Hadees [discussed earlier].

2. Rabb which is clearly one of the Names of Allah - is not mentioned in the 99 names list.

3. The same goes with Al Jamil, At Tayyib, Al Witr, Al Mannan, As Subbuh, Asy Shafi, Al Musta'an, Al Kafeel, Al Waafi, Al Waaqi, Al Munsyi' and many more which have not been mentioned amongst the 99 Names.

4. Researchers have found far hundreds of attributes of Allah from Quran. 

F. How do you know Allah / God?

How do we know about Islam or Almighty God? Answer is: through Quran i.e. God’s word.
What is Quran? Quran is the message of God for the mankind.

The word of God is available to us in "language" we understand. Language is evolved by human beings. Human beings brought into existence to Aramaic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and the revelations of God were in these languages. Ponder over the chronological order:
1. In the beginning only God existed. There was no Arabic, no Sanskrit, no Hebrew.

2.Then creation took place. Human being started living on the earth.

3.As a result of the intellectual evolution, human being started languages. Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic, English came into existence gradually.

4. God revealed his scripture in these languages and detailed about himself using human-languages.

The last point has the crux of the article. God describes about himself using the language that was developed by human beings. It’s not the case that God reveals his message in a language that is not understandable for human beings.

So, when Almighty God mentions in the Quran ‘Allah’, ‘Khaliq’, ‘Raziq’ etc for himself the he is using words that are understandable for human being. Allah is not mentioning words that human being can not understand. In the revelation sent before Quran, in non-Arabic language – Allah would have used terms for himself that people of that language would have understood. Revelation of God in Sanskrit would have referred God in Sanskrit language, revelation of God in Persian language would have referred God in Persian language.
Read this for better understanding on attributes of Allah.

G. Conclusion

1. It is a misconception that the almighty GOD has a personal name.
2. All names of Allah are attributive name including the name Allah.
3. God can be referred in any language. There is no restriction of language. God is beyond the boundaries of language.
4. It is wrong to say that God has only 99 names. In fact, there is no limit to names of God.
5. To God belongs most beautiful names.
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  1. Allah is personal name. In the mother tongue of Isa(a) (i.e. aramaic) the name of the Creator is Allah. Please open online aramaic dictionary. It is a proper noun. In any country and in any language, you are called by Imam Khurshid and not by its translation in the respective languages. Al+Ilah = Allah is wrong. According to arabic grammar, it is not possible. When al is combined with ilah, it becomes Al-ilah only. Please don't give answers on any thing on which you have no knowledge. The ninety names of Allah describes ALLAH. Please do not mislead innocent muslims by your wrong answers. Instead you please study Islam

    1. Respected Abdul KArim bhai: I respect your view and read your "emotional" comment. World does not run on emotion - it is logic, common sense and Truth that determines what is right and what is wrong. You did not provide any solid proof for your claim except emotional words. You said:

      1. // In the mother tongue of Isa(a) (i.e. aramaic) the name of the Creator is Allah //
      Brother its very well known to those who have some idea of language that Arabic , Aramaic, Hebrew etc are sister languages and have lot of similar root words with same meaning.

      Arabic and Aramaic are Semitic languages, both originating in the Middle East. Though they are linguistically related, with similar vocabulary, pronunciation and grammatical rules, these languages differ from one another in many ways. Aside from linguistics, the greatest difference between these languages is the historical roles they have played.

      elahh (Aramaic)

      The very word Qur’an, which means “The Recital,” is derived from an Aramaic/Syriac word qiriana.

      This connection is a critical bridge builder: sister languages, the Arabic, and the Aramaic, the written language which was once the global language, stretching from the Near East to Malabar in India and East China.

      It is intriguing to note that Dr. Sidney Griffith, a Catholic priest and noted Syriac scholar, states that:

      “Neither Qur’anic nor Aramaic Scholars have seen fit to make the linguistic connection, and it is about time that connection was made.”

      “Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi’s research reveals that the name of the Central City of Tibet, Lasa is
      actually Lahsa, meaning the Home of Allah. This city is the traditional centre of the religious culture of
      the Aryans. He further adds : ‘When I expressed this idea before Maulana Hamidud-Din Farahi, he said
      that this root of God’s name seems to be the oldest of all religious words which has been used with a
      slight variation, by every religion.”4 Infact Il, Illiah, Eloh Elohim, Ilah, Lah, Lahut are the words of the
      same root which have been used in the sense of ‘The Worshipped One’ in different religions.

      Late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad has also testified it : “In all these races there exists a faith in the existence of
      an unseen God and he is called by the name ‘Al-Ilah’ or Allah. The same word Ilah has taken the shape
      of either Il or Eloh and sometimes Ilahia.5” Pandit Sunder Lal writes in his book Gita aur Qur’an.
      “The Qur’an gives the Supreme Being the name Allah. In Rig Veda, one of the names by which
      Ishvara is styled is “Ila” which has its root in ‘Il’ meaning ‘to praise’ or ‘to worship’. A whole ‘Sukta’of
      Rig Vada is an invocation to ‘Ila’. Nearly 6000 years ago, in the language of Sumeria, ‘Il’ was the term
      applied to God. The Sumerian city known as Babylon was really called ‘Bab-El’ or ‘the door of God’.
      The term is employed in several places in the Torah of Jews and the Zend Avesta of the Parsis... The
      usual style was Iliha or Iloh. It is thus clear, that from the time of Rig Veda down to the present day,
      the term Allah has in one style or another come to be applied to God.” Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Tarjumanul Qur’an (Sahitya Academy Delhi), Vol I, P. 247.


    2. 2. You said // Allah is personal name. //
      Any name - originates from a language. When you say Allah is the personal name of God then question is - Which language this word belongs to? When languages were invented? When only Allah existed without the existence of universe then there was no language; how come then allah had a personal name in any particular language then? Its absurd to assume that God will have a PERSONAL name. Who will name him so? Name is derived from a language and language originated billions of years after creation of earth.
      Whatever God reveals is using the language spoken by HUMAN being. Since Quran was revealed in Saudia Arab so it is in ARABIC language and that is why Allah is referred as ALLAH in Quran. Since Arabic and Hebrew and Aramaic are similar language that is why you see similar words for Allah in these languages.

  2. no religion is true. if the creator is one there should be 1 religion. different times different religion came in different parts of the world but none of the religion is perfect in terms of reality. many religion has different god but they have shaitan has common. religion is way of time pass as during that time people did not have work so religion was created as per that time. the very existence of mankind is not explained. no body knows who is the real creater and if creater is there why did this world is made if everyone is to die. dinosaurs,mammoth existed and now became extinct.the bottom line is religion is false as no religion can prove itself as who is the real creater.

    1. Once you REALLY understand What is meant by ISLAM your this argument will vanish. If you think that islam means a CULT; islam means one out of many religions; islam means something man made... then i have to agree with you.
      Please- don't have picture of islam as that you get from sectarian muslims.

      When i say ISLAM then its basic understanding is:
      1. there is ONE creator / sustainer/ manager of the universe.
      2. to follow his guidance is called islam in ARABIC language.

      If something we are receiving in the name of islam is REALLY inhumane, barbaric, illogical then it proves two things:
      a. Either a JUST / FAIR / LOGICAL God does NOT exists. To accept existence of illogical, inhumane, unjust God is against norm of all common sense.
      b. OR the so called teaching is not part of ISLAM / guidance of GOD.

      I request you to red my this comment 4-5 times to make sure that we are on the same page.
      The problem is that so many bad / false teachings are propagated in market IN the name of islam BY muslim scholars that anyone is bound to dislike it. but if you check it with FULL honesty and with QURAN then things become very clear.

      The one supreme power who is behind the creation / sustenance / continuation of this immense universe is only GOD. Leading life as per his guidance is RELIGION. Since there is ONLY one GOD there can not be more than one religion.

      We did not come to this world with our choice. We came by his planning and we will go due to his planning. What will happen after death; why we were created; what is the purpose of our life; such extra-material Questions can be answered ONLY by the one who is almighty GOD.
      Just because you find so many bad teachings in the name of religion - please do not reject GOD. leave the false teachings and accept true teachings.

  3. I wish to say something about this topic but behind the scene. How do I email you? Please contact me, thank you.


    p/s Surah Taha Ayat 14.
    Who giveth HIM the name - Himself.

  4. Allah is the greatest name of all names. The one who recites this name for 1000 times at least, will find all the suspicions vanish away.

    Narrated Abu Huraira: Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 50:894)
    Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said: “ALLAH has ninety nine names, anyone who learns them will enter in paradise.”

    Source: Ninety Nine Names of Allah

  5. Allah is the greatest and he is the creator of this while Universe.