If you asked a believer if they loved Allah (SWT) they would respond firmly, with a definitive yes, and be taken aback at such a question. However, how many of us truly have spent time learning more about Him, reflecting on His names, and the magnitude of His attributes?
The Month of Muharram is upon us; its name literally reflecting its sanctity. The first of the sacred months, described by the Prophet (SAW) as “the month of Allah”. To welcome this prestigious time, join us in reflecting on ten of His Beautiful Names; an opportunity to delve deeper on their meaning and to grow closer to Him, but also to strive to emulate what we can of these attributes in our lives in these sacred days.
1. Ar‑Rahmaan (The Most Merciful)
The name Ar-Rahman is mentioned in the Qur’an innumerable times; as mercy is a dominant attribute of Allah. All that we had, that we currently possess, and that will be bestowed upon us in future is due to His mercy. We are reminded in the Qur’an continually of the mercy of our Creator, how it precedes His Wrath and the bounties He bestows on us.
We can only understand the level of mercy that is present in this world, and that has been shown to us by other humans. The relationship which embodies mercy most for us is that of a mother and her child, however Allah’s Mercy supersedes that tenfold. It may be difficult to comprehend such mercy, as our understanding of such an attribute is worldly and inevitably limited.
“Verily, on the day Allah created the heavens and the earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between the heavens and the earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from which a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” (Muslim)
We should aim to follow His beautiful attributes, by being merciful to His creation. If we wish to be among those to whom mercy is shown on the day of Judgement, then it is essential for us to strive hard to soften our hearts, and show mercy to those around us.
Within this supplication, you can call upon Him, using His divine name:
“O Lord! Reliever of worry, Remover of anxiety, Responder to the call of those under duress, the Merciful and the Mercy Giver in this world and in the Hereafter. It is You Who will have mercy on me in the way that frees me from seeking mercy from anyone beside You.” (al-Hakim).
2. Al-Mu’min (The One Who Gives Security)
Allah alone provides our souls with security and inner peace, by bestowing faith upon us and showing us the way leading to Him. We should have conviction that only He alone can provide us with peace and security both in this life and the next. Having this belief saves us from falling into the trap of superstition and disbelief.
“He is Allah, other than whom none has the right to be worshipped. The King, the Holy, as-Salam, the Giver of Security, the Ever Watcher, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! [High is He] above all that they associate as partners with Him.” (Surah al-Hashr 59:23)
We should lead our life with the intention of peace and tranquility, by the remembrance of His name, and the firm belief that He alone is the one deserving of our devotion and worship. Although Allah bestows upon His servants in this world serenity and contentment, there are times where we are tested. In those moments, we should remain steadfast knowing that He is the Greatest of Planners, and security and peace of the hereafter is everlasting.
“Truly the Muttaqun (the pious) will be amidst Gardens and water-springs (Paradise). (It will be said to them): “Enter there in peace and security!” And We shall remove from their breasts any deep feeling of bitterness (that they may have). (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones. No sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shall they (ever) be asked to leave it.” (Surah al-Hijr :45-48)
3. Al- Razzaq (The Bestower Of All Provisions)
The magnitude of what Allah bestows upon all living things is unfathomable. Across all of time, and space He Sustains all inanimate and animate beings. The eyes you are reading with, the clothes you wear, the family you care for – even every single breath you take – are all bestowed and sustained by Him alone – blessings which we sadly take for granted without a second thought.
Dawud (as) said, “O Lord, show me the hidden blessings upon me.” Allah Almighty said, “O Dawud, breathe,” so Dawud (as) took a breath. Allah said, “Who counts these blessings in each day and night?” (al-Qurtubi)
He provides for both believers and non-believers, even to those who mock and ridicule Him, such is His mercy.
“And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage1 All is in a clear register.” (Qur’an 11:8)
We can live by this name, by being content with what we are bestowed with. We always searching for something bigger and better; and although there is no harm in striving for success, we should be wary of careful of being ungrateful for what we have been blessed with.
This doesn’t mean that you can sit back, expecting things to just fall into the place, with the belief that if it was written for you it will arrive. You should still strive to work hard, and help those around you, with the open mind that if it is meant for you it will come and you will be grateful, and if it isn’t then may be it wasn’t good for you.
“If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from it you cannot flee.” ― Umar Ibn Al-Khattab
4. Al-Hakam (The Judge, The Giver of Justice)
Allah is the one and only true Judge who delivers justice in every situation. He is the one whose decrees are never over turned, and has the final decision in all matters; He is the one who arbitrates all disputes.
“Our Lord will bring us together; then He will judge between us in truth. And He is the Knowing Judge.” [Quran, 34:26]
We should aim to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah, and use the teachings of Islam as our guidance, and with the understanding that is the only judgement we should strive to succeed in. We can take comfort in this name knowing that if people are unjust, then you will surely get justice from Al-Hakam.
5. Al-Qayyum (The Self Subsisting)
While all living things are mortal, this divine name emphasises His Eternal Being. He is the Sustainer of Himself and all creation, managing everything in its existence. He has always been there, and will always be there as the Ever-Living and is completely free from any dependence on any of His Creation.
“God! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal.” (Qur’an 2:255).
Allah Sustains, Protects, Oversees, Provides for, Watches over, and Manages all that exists. And in the same way, He loves when a believer takes cares of their fellow brother or sister in their time of need, and those who bring ease to those facing hardship. In this way He promises a great reward and relief in the next life to those who extend a helping hand to others in this world.
This name reminds us of the beauty of Qiyam al-Layl – the voluntary standing at night in prayer, seeking His Protection and Care in our daily lives. It is also amongst Allah’s greatest names, with which He responds to our supplications:
The Prophet (saw) said: ‘Do you know what he has supplicated with?’ They said: “Allah (swt)) and His Messenger know best.” He said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, he called upon Allah by His Greatest Name, which, if He is called by it, He responds, and if He is asked by it, He gives.’ (Al-Nasa’i)
The Prophet (saw) directed his daughter Fatima (ra) to recite this supplication:
“O the Ever-Living One, the Self-Subsisting One, I invoke Your Mercy. Do not leave to myself even for the twinkling of an eye.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
We too should strive to make our tongues moist with it as part of our morning and evening supplications.
6. Al-Wadud (The Affectionate)
The word Al-wudd is much stronger than the word Al-hub (love) as it does not only mean to love, but to love through expression, through the act of giving. Allah loves us in infinite ways, through His mercy, through His blessings, and through the creation of the entire universe and everything within it. “Seek forgiveness from your Lord, then turn towards Him in repentance. Surely, my Lord is very Merciful, Most Loving.” (Hud 11:90)
He is the One Who receives affection as well as the one who is Affectionate to His servants – He is beloved to them and the one who loves them. As al-Ghazali says, al-Wadud is the one “Who loves good for all of creation, and treats them in the best manner, and commends.”
If we were to stop and ponder over what we have been blessed with, of our mere existence, of what surrounds us, of the sun and moon that work like clockwork. These are signs of His love for us.
To reciprocate Allah’s love for us we can strive to worship and live in a way that is pleasing to Him. Take time out in these days to reflect on all the blessings He has bestowed upon you, all the harm He has averted from you, and how He continually shows His love for you.
7. Al – Ba’ith (The Sender)
Allah sends His Messengers, His Scriptures, provisions and favours to all of mankind.
“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship Allah and avoid ṭāghūt.”1 And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. So proceed [i.e., travel] through the earth and observe how was the end of the deniers.” (Quran 16:36)
Of the greatest blessings that have been sent down, is undoubtedly the presence of our beloved, the greatest of all Messengers, the Prophet (saw). We should aim to follow in his footsteps and emulate his perfect character. We should study the life of the Prophet (saw) and use his life as a blueprint for ours. As servants of Allah, we should aim to spread His message and invite people to His way, forbid evil and spread goodness in the world.
8. Al-Matin (The Firm Possessor of Strength)
Allah is the Most Strong and does not experience tiredness; His power is steadfast, and constant. He does not depend on anyone or anything for his strength.
“Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.” (Quran 51:58)
As believers, we should have firm belief that our Lord has the strength to change our circumstances in the blink of an eye. He is the one to elevate, and degrade, to grant health and sickness. To attain strength, we should call upon Him, and remembering our weakness, always remain humble, towards Allah, Whom alone is All Strong.
9. Al-Qarib (The Near)
Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing and Ever Responsive. He knows what you are thinking, feeling and seeing.
“And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Quran 50:16).
As believers, we should feel reassured that our Lord is near watching over us and protecting us. At times when you are feeling broken, unable to turn to anyone for help then know that He is waiting for you to call out to Him.
Allah tells the Prophet (saw) in the Qur’an: “O Muhammad, when my servants ask you about Me, tell that I am quite near; I hear and answer the call of the caller whenever he calls Me.” (Qur’an 2:186)
There is a special closeness reserved for those who do good deeds and strive to please Him. We should aim to be among those by increasing in our good deeds, and staying away from that which is forbidden.
“And the forerunners, the forerunners – those are the ones brought near [to Allah] in the Gardens of Pleasure.” [Qur’an, 56, 10-12]
10. Al-Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
It is stressed throughout the Quran that Allah alone causes life and death. He allows creation to survive, and decrees death whenever He decides. He will resurrect us on the day of Judgment to account for our deeds.
“Indeed, He who has given it life is the Giver of Life to the dead. Indeed, He is over all things competent.” [Quran, 41:39]
“So observe the effects of the mercy of Allah – how He gives life to the earth after its lifelessness.” [Quran, 30:50]
Our body grows and ages in a miraculous way, we are given a body clothed with muscle, flesh and veins; an angel is then sent down to breathe the spirit into us. Such is the complexity of a human being, a creative wonder which is a token of His magnitude.
We should earnestly pray to Allah to be among those who He is pleased with on the Day of Judgement when we are resurrected and held accountable.
We have only cast a glance at 10 of Allah’s 99 Names. We hope it has been a beneficial and informative read for you, but it doesn’t need to stop there.
Most of us have read Allah’s 99 names, some of us may have also memorized them, but that dosen’t mean you can’t do more. Try to spend some time studying each name in depth. Reflect on them and become acquainted with your Lord. Set yourself a goal to go through a certain number each day. Try to incorporate them in your supplications. You can do it with your friends and family in order to spend time together, doing something beneficial.
The Prophet (saw) said: “Allah has 99 names. Whoever memorizes and embraces (ihsa) these qualities will enter heaven.” (Bukhari).