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On Eemaan, Ibaadah and Tawheed : Their Link and Interrelation.
  Lesson 5: General Principles Regarding Allaah's Names
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Article ID : SCL010005  [21040]  
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What this means is that the Names of Allaah are restricted to proof from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and no one from his own mind and thinking can start to give names for Allaah. So when we say, such and such is a name of Allaah, then it must be from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah. No one can invent a name or think of a name.

This is like the acts of worship. They are restricted to a text from the Book or the Sunnah. No one is allowed to come up with an act of worship which the Qur’aan and the Sunnah have not covered.

Allaah said:

"Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge…" [17:36]

"Say: My Lord has forbidden…. and that you say about Allaah that of which you have no knowledge" [7:33]

THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE: There is no specific number for Allaah’s Names

The proof for this is the saying of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the well-known du’a:

"I ask you by every Name that you have named Yourself with, or which You revealed in Your Book, or which you taught to anyone from amongst Your creation, OR WHICH YOU KEPT TO YOURSELF IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN" [Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan and it is saheeh]

So whatever Allaah has kept to Himself of His Names, it is not possible for anyone to count their exact number.

As for the hadeeth, "To Allaah belong 99 Names, whoever enumerates them will enter Paradise", then this is not a proof that Allaah only has 99 names. The hadeeth says that there are 99 specific Names of Allaah which if enumerated, memorised acted upon etc.. will cause a person to enter Paradise. It did not say; "The Names of Allaah are 99, whoever enumerates them will enter Paradise."

To illustrate this, If I said: "I have 100 pounds which I have kept aside for charity." This does not prevent the fact that I also have other pounds which I did not keep aside for charity.

It is not established either from the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he listed the 99 names mentioned in the above hadeeth. In fact all the hadeeths which have the above wording, but then go on to list the names are all da’eef, as explained by Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo ul-Fataawaa (vol 6).

THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE: That we do not do Ilhaad (deviate) in the matter of Allaah’s Names

Allaah said:

"And to Allaah belong the most-beautiful of Names, therefore call upon Him by them, and leave alone those who deviate in Allaah’s Names. They will soon be recompensed for what they used to do." [7:180]

Deviating can take place in a number of different ways:

1. To reject anything that the Names of Allaah indicate or give evidence to, such as the Attributes or Qualities behind them, as the Jahmees do, and the Ash’arees and other straying innovators.

2. To claim that the Names of Allaah give evidence to attributes which are similar to the creation. (This is Tashbeeh that we covered in Lesson 2)

3. To call Allaah by a name that He did not call Himself such as ‘Father’ as the Christians do or ‘The First Cause’ as the philosophers and the People of Kalaam do.

4. To derive other names from the Names of Allaah and then to name idols with them. For example al-Uzzaa, one of the gods of the pagans in the time of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was derived from Allaah’s Name, al-Azeez. Likewise, al-Laat was taken from Allaah. However, these names are unique for Allaah and no one else deserves them, just as He is unique in deserving the worship of the whole of creation.

Comprehension Questions:

1. Why is the topic of Allaah’s Names important?

2. Quote the verse in the Qur;’an in which reference is given to Allaah’s Names and give the reference.

3. Answer the following objections:

A. There are some names that are common between Allaah and the creation and if we affirm them for Him aren’t we likening Him to the creation/

B. If we affirm all these names for Allaah and the qualities behind them aren’t we creating lots of different gods?

3. Give some examples to illustrate how the Names of Allaah consist of two things: the Name, and the quality or characterstic behind it.

4. What is the difference between Allaah being called by something and the creation being called by something? (Hint, end of Second Principle).

5. Explain what is a transitive verb and a non-transitive verb.

6. Give examples of Allaah’s Names which are transitive and which are non-transitive.

7. What do we have to affirm for:

A. a Name that is transitive?

B. a Name that is non-transitive?

8. Quote two verses to prove that we cannot speak about Allaah without knowledge, learn them and memorise their references.

9. Is there is a limit to Allaah’s names and do we know the exact number? Answer this question with proof from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah.

10. Give some examples of how a person can deviate in the issue of Allaah’s Names (there is some link here to Lesson 2, on the Attributes of Allaah).

14th December 1997

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