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The Methodology of the Salaf in Aqidah
  General Principles Regarding Allaah's Names
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Source: Based upon al-Qawaa'id ul-Muthlaa of Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen
Article ID : AQD030007  [41111]  
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To illustrate this, lets look at some ‘transitive’ and ‘non-transitive’ examples in the following table.

Transitive Names
The Name

1. To affirm the name:

2. To affirm the quality

3. Its ruling and implication

Al-Aleem (All-Knowing)


Allaah has ‘knowledge’

Allaah’s knowledge covers every single thing. Nothing is hidden from Him etc…

Ar-Razzaaq (The Provider)


Allaah ‘provides’

Allaah provides for and sustains the whole of creation. He sends the rain, splits the seed and causes the herbage to grow etc….and by all this, He feeds and clothes the whole of creation.




Allaah ‘hears’

Allaah hears all of the creation, nothing is hidden from His hearing.


(The Responder)


Allaah ‘responds’

Allaah responds to His creation when they call upon Him and when they are in distress and when they submit their needs to Him.

Al-Khaaliq (The Creator)


Allaah ‘creates’

Allaah is the Creator of everything, He created the universe and He continues to add to His creation as He wills


(The Healer)


Allaah ‘heals’

Allaah heals the creation and removes their ills and diseases, whether they are physical, or related to the soul and the heart….

Al-Musawwir (The Fashioner)


Allaah ‘fashions, forms, shapes’

Allaah is the one who forms us in our wombs and gives us our shape….

Non-Transitive Names

The Name

1. To affirm the name:

2. To affirm the quality



(The Unique)


Allaah is ‘unique’



(The Ever-Living)


Allaah has ‘perfect life’


As-Samad (The Self-Sufficient)


Allaah has the quality of being ‘self-sufficient, independent of everythinig else’


Al-Awwal (The First)


Allaah is the ‘first’ before everything.




Allaah is ‘clear of imperfections and evil things’


So these are some examples. Notice how the ‘transitive’ ones mostly involve actions whereas the ‘non-transitive’ ones mostly describe states or qualities.

THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE: The Names of Allaah are ‘Tawqeefiyyah’ and there is no place for the intellect regarding them.

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 PRINCPLE: 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."

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