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Authentic Adhkār from the Qur’an & Sunnah: Lesson 13

Sat 21 Apr 2018

✏️Lesson 13: The differences in the names of Allah, and what is the greatest name of Allah?

We have already covered that Allah’s names are more than 99 and that the one whomsoever learns and acts on them will enter Paradise

  • This indicates that the names of Allah have different levels
  • Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says whoever says that the attributes of Allah do not have different levels, then there is no evidence behind their statement
  • Just as the names and attributes of Allah vary, then so do their virtues
  • The narratiiomn
    • This hadith proves that there are different levels
  • It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heardman say: ‘Allahumma! Inni as’aluka bi-anna lakal-hamd. La ilaha illa Anta, wahdaka la sharika laka. Al-Mannan. Badi’us-samawati wal-ard. Dhul-jalali wal-ikram (O AllahI ask You by virtue of the fact that all praise is due to You; none has the right to be worshiped but Youalone, and You have no partner or associate, the Bestower, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Possessor of majesty and honor.’ He (saas) said: ‘He has asked Allah by His Greatest Name which, if He is asked thereby He gives and if He is called upon thereby He answers.'” [Reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed and also found in the four books of the Sunnan]
    • Note: what is the order of the four sunnan in the order that their authors died? 1. Ibn Maajah (d.273 AH), Abu Dawud (d. 275 AH), Tirmidhi (d.279 AH), Nisaai (d.303 AH)
    • Note 2: Imam Ahmed died 241
    • What about the order of the Sunan in order of which book is best? Some scholars order them as follows, Abu dawud, NIsaii, Timridhi, Ibn Maajah
  • There are numerous narrations which mention the greatest name of Allah
    • It was narrated that Al-Qasim said: The Greatest Name of Allah, if He is called by which He will respond, is in three Surah: Al-Baqarah, Al ‘Imran and Ta-Ha. (Hasan) Another chain for something similar from Al-Qasim, from Abu Umamah, from the Prophet (saas) [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • It was narrated from Asma’ bint Yazid that : The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “The Greatest Name of Allah is in these two Verses: And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God – Allah), La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.’ And at the beginning of Surah Al ‘Imran.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heard a man saying: O Allah, I ask Thee, I bear witness that there is no god but Thou, the One, He to Whom men repair, Who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and to Whom no one is equal, and he said: You have supplicated Allah using His Greatest Name, when asked with this name He gives, and when supplicated by this name he answers. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
  • From these narrations we know that the one who calls upon Allah with his greatest name will have his/her supplications answers, the scholar have done a great amount of research into this topic
    • Imam Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said indeed the scholars have differed on what the greatest name of Allah is, in approximately 40 opinions, however many of them are weak.
    • Indeed the Sufia (sufis) have made a great deal of fabrications on this issue, including many made up stories. Every Muslim needs to be upon caution from falling into this deception. One should check the sources used carefully.
    • NOTE: Why are the sufia called sufia? One opinion is that “suuf” means wool linguistically, and so this is a reference to their zuhd (asceticism).
    • Imam Shawkaani says the most popular opinion and most well evidence and the most likely to be correct is in specifying what the greatest name of Allah is in terms of evidence, is his name, “Allah”.
    • One evidence for the above is when we ask “What is the greatest name of Allah”, we always refer to him by default as “Allah”, and we may for example say “Al-Rahmaan (The Most merciful) is one of the names of Allah”, i.e. the name “Allah” is central.
    • In the Book Kitaab At-Tawhid, the Shaikh , mentions that “Allah” is the greatest name of Allah and explains by stating that the name Allah explains the essence of Allah, and that:
      • it is the basis of Eemaan (as we say “Eemaan in Allah”)
      • it is the basis of Islam (as the first pillar, in the testimony we mention his name Allah), and
      • that with this name we start with his name “Allah” and that he is the greatest)
      • And that when we seek refuge we seek refuge with him using this name
      • Therefore this name “Allah” has specific virtues which the others do not have
    • And the verse “And to Allah belong the most beautiful names” shows that all the other names return back to this one and it encompasses them
    • Each of the other names clarify different aspects of why Allah should be singled out for worship, e.g. he is Al-Rahmaan (The Most Merciful) etc
  • Therefore the majority of the scholars state that the name “Allah” is the greatest name
  • Other scholars state that the greatest name is “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” (The Ever Living, the one who sustains and protects all that exists)
    • Ibn qayyim says the attribute of life (Al-Hayy) is inclusive and comprises all of the attributes of perfection , and the second part (Al-Qayyuum) shows that Allah is completely self sufficient, needing none, yet at the same time he sustains and protects all that exists, and so everything needs him and he needs none.
    • The name “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” is mentioned the most of the narrations which cover the greatest name of Allah
    • However “Allah” is mentioned in all of the hadith which mention the greatest name of Allah
  • The above two are the strongest two opinions
  • NOTE: However this is an issue of Ihtihaad as there is not any hadith which categorically state which name is greatest, and so this is an issue requiring analysis and research
  • In any case, if you were to repeat the dua which the man made in the first n
  • Q&A:
    • What is the meaning of the name Allah?
    • Is right to call Allah “God”? = No
    • Is it better to call Allah “The Lord” or “The Creator” when explaining to non Muslims? = Yes, this is because the names “Lord” or “Creator” have direct translations into Allah’s names whereas just saying “God” can mean different to different people
    • Question about praying witr and Tahajjud at night
    • Is it right for a man to hug his mother-in-law or sister in-law?

Next Lesson insha Allah:  Ramadhaan preparation lesson

 

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