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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Authentic Adhkār from the Qur’an & Sunnah Lesson 12

Sat 14 Apr 2018

✏️Lesson 12: Understanding the names of Allah correctly and acting on them, + are they limited to 99?

  • It is clear that the need for the servant to know his lord and creator is from the greatest of his needs
  • The servant therefore needs to carefully ponder over the names of Allah and focus on them one by one
  • The servant believes the perfection of Allah is infinite
  • The servant must make this issue (i.e understanding the names and attributes of Allah) from the most important of issues
  • Anas said: One of the Ansar used to lead the Ansar in Salat in the Quba’ mosque and it was his habit to reciteQul Huwal-lahu Ahad whenever he wanted to recite something in Salat. When he finished that Surah, he would reciteanother one with it. He followed the same procedure in each Rak’a. His companions discussed this with him and said, “You recite this Surah and do not consider it sufficient and then you recite So would you recite it alone or leave it and recite some other.” He said, “I will never leave it and if you want me to be your Imam on this condition then it is all right ; otherwise I will leave you.” They knew that he was the best amongst them and they did not like someone else to lead them in Salat. When the Prophet (saws) went to them as usual, they informed him about it. The Prophet (saws) addressed him and said, “O so-and-so, what forbids you from doing what your companions ask you to do ? Why do you read this Surah particularly in every Rak’a ?” He repiled, “I love this Surah.” The Prophet (saws) said, “Your love for this Surah will make you enter Paradise.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
    • Recap of the Virtue of Suratul-Ikhlaas (Chapter Sincerity)
  • It is upon every Muslim to understand all of the names and attributes of Allah having acceptance, satisfaction and pleasure regarding them
  • Imam Zuhri said: From Allah is the revelation, upon the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the duty of dissemination, and upon us is submission.
  • It is not permissible for a Muslim who has understood the rights of Allah and his status, to ever approach any of his names and attributes with rejection or dissatisfaction.
    • NOTE: The Qur’an has muhkamaat (clear) and mutashaabihaat (ambiguous) verse. The people of innovation claim that the names of Allah are all mutashaabihaat, however this is false, the names and attributes of Allah are clear, and those who may hold more than one meaning should be understood in the context of the muhkamaat, and thus they become clear. However they (the people of innovation) do not return to the muhkamaat, instead they apply their own mind and logic, thereby going further astray.
    • Note: common Muslims who have not learnt or studied, when they delve into the attributes of Allah
    • This is why when learning the religion, this should be done step by step
    • Saying: Whoever attempts to gain knowledge in one go, looses it all in one go (due to a lack of grounding)
    • It is an obligation that we submit and accept
    • A Muslims should be extremely careful from going into the error of the Mulhiduun (those who distort the names of Allah, see lesson 11)
    • The Methodology of Ahlu-Sunnah in this field is to affirm what Allah has affirmed for himself, and to affirm that which his Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has affirmed for him, without any distortion, nor rejection nor giving descriptions of making resemblance. And at the same time to negate that which Allah has negated for hismnelf, and that which his messenger has negated for him. Ahlu-Sunnah do not go beyond the Qur’an and Sunnah.
    • In comparison, the people of innovation go beyond the qur’an and Sunnah, and instead try to use their logic to work out what to believe instead of following the texts
    • No doubt there are great affects upon a servant in terms of his righteousness , uprightness, and his fear of Allah (knowing he sees and hears him), the greater he becomes in his knowledge, then the greater he becomes in his fear of Allah, and the greater he becomes in his asking of Allah, and in his being closer to Allah.
    • As for the one who deviates from this methodology, and instead moves off this path and traverses upon the path of the people of deviation, then how far will he stray from understanding his lord and creator? Such a person will become the weakest in their understanding in his lord, and the least in fearing and having awe for his lord.
    • Ibn Qayyim mentioned that the people’s level differs in their understanding of Allah, and that this difference stems from their difference in their understanding of the texts. He said you will find the weakest of the people in insight are the people of philosophy, those who speak false in deviation in regards to the names of Allah, that which the Salaf criticised and disparaged them due to their lack of their understanding of the texts and because of their false doubts taking hold of their hearts. In fact, Ibn Qayyim says the commoners are in a better state in their understanding of the names and attributes of Allah, greater in their submission and belief than the people of philosophy.
  • NEXT CHAPTER: The number of names Allah has

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Authentic Adhkar from the Qur’an and Sunnah: Lesson 11:

Saturday 31 Mar 2018

Lesson 11: The names of Allah are Husnaa (Pinnacle of perfection), and what are the 4 forms of Ilhad (Distortion)?

    • The names of Allah are described as “husnaa”, i.e. at the pinnacle of perfection
    • We have been commanded in the quran to make mention of his names and a severe weartning has been made aha-inst those who make Ilhaad (distortion, deviation, rejection) and that indeed Allah will hold them to account with a  severe reckoning
    • Allah says: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who believe or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be recompensed for what they used to do.” [Surah Al-Ar’raaf (The Heights) verse 180]
    • Therefore it is important for EVERY muslim to make time to study the beautiful names of Allah and that he/she understands these names and attributes correctly
    • Allah says: “Verily, those who turn away from Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc. by attacking, distorting and denying them), are not hidden from Us. Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what you will. Verily! He is All-Seer of what you do (this is a severe threat to the disbelievers).” [Surah Fussilat (They are Explained in Detail) verse 40]
    • All of the names of Allah are husnaa, Allah due to his perfection, might, majesty and greatness is not names except with the most perfect and beautiful of names.
      • Likewise Allah does not have any attribute except that it is perfect
      • The praise of Allah is only made upon the most perfect and best of praise
    • Nothing can take the place or replace the names of Allah
  • Allah mentions his names as being husnaa in four places in the Qur’an
      • Al-A’raaf (The Heights) verse 180
      • Al-Israa (The Journey by Night) verse 110
      • Daa-Haa (Ta-Ha) verse  08
      • Al-Hashr (The Gathering) verse 24
    • Each of the names of Allah has an attribute of perfection associated with it
    • Each of the attributes of Allah has an attribute of perfection associated with it similarly
    • All of Allah’s names and attributes indicate absolute perfection, not a single one of them has any element of deficiency associated with it.
    • Every name of Allah carries a distinct attribute of perfection and meaning which is unique from all the others, no two names of his are the same.
      • What are some examples?
      • Therefore, when one looks at the names and attributes of Allah, they all indicate Allah
    • Ibn Qayyim said all the names of Allah are praise, had they been merely names with no meaning, then this would not have indicated any praise or perfection. Rather all the names carry attributes which are upon the pinnacle of perfection
    • When one considers all the above, it becomes clear that learning the names and attributes of Allah is something one MUST learn and put into practice. For example, when Allah says “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them”, then this can only be actualised by understanding them in the first place so that one knows what he or she is saying when calling upon Allah with his names.
      • If one does not know the meanings of the names and attributes of Allah, then it may be that his/her dua becomes inappropriate, for example someone asking Allah for mercy, yet using his name that he is the most severe in punishment
    • If you were to look into the Qur’an you can find many places where the names of Allah are mentioned, e.g. at the end of a verse, and the names always correspond to the context of the verse.
      • What are some examples?
    • Ibn Qayyim says Allah loves that the creation be upon the
      • Allah is the All-Knowing, so he loves those of Knowledge
      • That he is the All Perfect and loves Perfection
      • He is the Oft-Forgiving, and loves those who forgive others
      • He is The Appreciative, so loves the thankful
      • Etc
    • Importance of leaving the ones who make Ilhad (distortions) in the names of Allah
      • Linguistically Ilhad means to  incline away or distort something
      • These people make distortions of the names of Allah away from their realities
      • Ilhad takes many forms from the people of innovation
      • Allah warned against this ilhad severely, therefore it is upon every muslim to learn about it so that you can stay away from it
      • There is a saying: Learn the evil not for the sake of the evil, but in order to safeguard yourself from it, for indeed the one who does not know the evil from the people will fall into ti
  • 4 Forms of Ilhad:
      • 1. To take the names of Allah give them to the Idols
        • For example, Al-laat, Uzza and Manaat were distortions of Allah’s names, the polytheists distorted the original names and gave these new names to their Idols
      • To name allah with a name which is not befitting of his might and majesty.
        • This will happen whenever one makes up or invents a name which is not from the Qur’an and Sunnah
        • For example the christians name Allah “The Father” and philosophers used to say call Allah some sort of “prime mover/force”. Some people of innovations used to call Allah the engineer of creation
      • To reject the names of Allah is ilhad
        • Many of the people of Innovation do this
      • To make comparison or resemblance between the names of Allah and his creation then this is ilhad.
        • Allah says in the Quran: “The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you (in the wombs). There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Ash-Shura (The Consultation) verse 11]
  • Q&A:
    • What about the name “As-Sattaar”?
    • What about people saying “Mother nature”?

Home work: memorise the 4 forms of Ilhad

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Authentic Adhkar from the Qur’an & Sunnah: Lesson 10

24 March 2018

Lesson 10: knowing and understanding the Names and attributes of Allah and the methodology of Ahlus-sunnah with regards to this

NOTE: a few minutes of the start of the Lesson were not recorded and a detailed summary could not be made due to technical difficulties

With Abu Muadh Taqweem

What we covered in this Lesson:
– Understanding the Names and attributes of Allah and how this affects your Worship
– The meaning of “Subhaanallaah”

– The methodology of Ahlus-sunnah with regards to understanding the names and attributes of Allah: Two major points
***1. To affirm them without making resemblance to creation
***2. Declaring Allah free from any imperfection without negating his names and Attributes
– Explaining the above in detail


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