As Muslims, our purpose revolves around the worship of Allah SWT. He tells us in the Qur’an,
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (51:56)
How then do we worship, love and revere Allah if we don’t who He is?
For us to establish a deep connection with Allah and to worship him in the way that He deserves, it is important that we seek knowledge of His Names and Attributes. Below are a few benefits of learning about Allah’s Names.
In the Qur’an, Allah SWT mentions repeatedly,
“To Allah belong the most magnificent, perfect and beautiful names (Al-Asma Wal-Husna) so make Du’a with them.” [Surah al-Aaraaf 7:180]
Therefore, learning about Allah’s name can have a profound impact on the way that we pray to him. And what I’m encouraging here isn’t just a study of the translation of his names; for this knowledge to transform our lives, we must go deeper. What does it mean for Allah SWT to be Al-Khaliq (The Creator) and Al-Wali (The Protective Friend) in our lives?
Do we understand that our creation is unique and special because we have been created by the One who fashioned the Universe and everything within it? Do we understand that Al-Wali is the only one we can rely upon in moments of difficulty and desperation? Allah SWT is the Protective Friend who never deserts us and guides us gently even in our relationship with him when we feel that we’re not worthy. So, the next time that you pray, think and reflect on Allah’s names and call upon him using those beautiful names.
Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” (17:110)
The transformation that happens through learning about Allah’s names should not be confined only to worship. In fact, this knowledge should permeate our character and how we relate to Allah SWT’s creations. After all, a major component of our religion is based on character.
The Prophet SAW said,
“The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).” Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.61
Therefore, knowledge of Allah’s attributes should provide us with an incentive to work on our character in a way that is pleasing to Allah and desired by Him. For example, when we understand that Allah SWT is As-Sabur (The Patient)- and whilst he is the only entity that can manifest His attributes with perfection- we can also strive to be patient with the people around us by reflecting on the grace that Allah SWT allows us through His patience.
Our knowledge of Allah as As-Sittir (The One Who Covers), should inspire us to cover the sins of our brothers and sisters rather than shame them in public. This is particularly pertinent for our current society where we often revel in shaming and publicly revealing the sins of others. We should spend time reflecting on how often Allah through his mercy shades our mistakes, faults and sins from the world and walk towards the path of doing that for others whilst providing sincere advice and counsel.
Building on from our knowledge of Allah as Al-Sittir, we know that Allah also describes himself as Al-Ghafur, (The One Who Loves to Forgive and Does So Continuously), this knowledge should provide us with an incentive to practice forgiveness in our lives. Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Yusuf (Peace Be Upon Them Both) encapsulate this practice so beautifully in their lives and their actions should be a source of reflection for us all. When our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) went to the people of Taif to deliver the message of Islam only to be chased and stoned by children, he chose to forgive them when he was given the option of retribution. Prophet Yusuf (Peace Be Upon Him) was thrown into a well by his brothers, yet he also chose to forgive them despite his position of power at the time. Therefore, it is apt that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) chose the words uttered by Prophet Yusuf on the day that he entered Mecca.
“I speak to you in the same words of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) peace be with him, who spoke to his brothers” and Muhammad (pbuh) recited a passage from a chapter of the Qur’an relating to the story of Yusuf (pbuh):
“No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful” (12:92)
Remember these stories the next time you are in a position to demonstrate kindness, mercy or forgiveness.
We are living in a very fast-paced society and as a result, we don’t practice essential things such as mindfulness in the way that we should. It’s either we are on auto-pilot mode going through life without cognition of what is happening around us or we are constantly on the go, planning or chasing after something.
Yet mindfulness and reflection are two key things for our spiritual and mental health. One of my favourite names of Allah SWT is that He is Al Lateef, The Subtle. The one who takes care of the affairs of His servants in a discreet manner.
Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted. [Quran, 6:103]
Being aware of this name should encourage us to pause occasionally and look out for signs of Al-Lateef in our lives. It may be in the kind and uplifting message that a friend sent to you randomly, or in the provision that you’ve gotten from a source that you did not expect from. There are so many ways that Allah SWT is handling and taking care of our affairs, yet we don’t notice them because we’re not present in our lives. Mindfulness and reflection helps us to take note and appreciate the little things. It allows us to pay attention and observe the different ways that Allah SWT’s attributes are manifested in our lives.
This article barely scratches the surface and I firmly believe that learning about Allah SWT is a life long journey that each and every one of us should embark on, and I can only pray that Allah blesses all of our journeys to him, Ameen.
Below are some excellent resources for you to learn more and expand your knowledge on this topic.
Jinan Yousef Allah’s names explained
Umm Abdur-Rahman Sakina Allahs Names and Attributes