The Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: About the Project

The Inspiration

The “Learn the 99 Names of Allah in the 99 days til Ramadan” event began in 2013 inspired by a Facebook post that suggested such a task would be a beneficial endeavor. Ever excited to motivate you towards good, the Creative Motivations team created a quick graphic and a spur of the moment event inviting folks to follow along as we posted one graphic per day of one of Allah’s Names or Attributes on the event wall. To our surprise, the event quickly went viral and before we knew it we had thousands of people participating and looking forward to the informative graphics each day. Realizing the sudden gravity of our endeavor, we decided to approach the project more carefully (for fear of misguiding anyone!), sourcing only authentic materials, doing very in-depth research, and providing lots of guidance and supplementary materials to encourage each participant to study the names more intently and build a deeper, more profound relationship with Allah.

As we designed our beautiful graphics, masha’Allah, it only took a few days before requests for a card set began to pour in. Hating to disappoint, we began designing each graphic as a card for a complete card set to be released at the end of the project. With the help of some wonderful and generous volunteers, we were able to continue the project for its entire duration, although there was some delay with the graphics as the names and attributes became more difficult to research and define. It took several months of research and design work, but the card set (and completed graphics) were finally made available late in 2013. Due to the great success and demand for this free event, we have decided to offer it annually, insha’Allah, and the card set is available year-round.

 

The Motivation: A Personal Account

Until you truly know Allah, you have not experienced the full beauty and depth of your faith. Islam is a beautiful religion. Some of us are born into it, some find our way later in life, whether drawn by the sensible, logical quality of the deen, the beauty and peace, the justice and camaraderie or an attraction we have yet to understand… once we find our way, or consciously embrace our faith, it can be the most amazing experience of our lives. When I converted to Islam in 2001, it was definitely a life altering experience. My emaan was so high, the sheer mercy of a breeze could bring me to tears. But as the years wore on, the excitement waned. This is not unusual, emaan goes up and down in every heart, and we should expect it to. I didn’t feel like anything was missing, I just longed for that surge I’d had in the beginning. So as the years wore on I continued to practice my faith, held the same concrete beliefs, gave dawah, studied, embraced the sisterhood, but I never felt the excitement, the appreciation and dependence on Allah as I felt in that first year… that is, until I began studying Allah’s Names.

When I began to explore Allah on a deeper level, everything changed. I realized I had never truly known my Lord… not truly. I loved and revered Him, trusted and called upon Him, worshiped and appreciated Him to an extent, but I was stunted by my sheer ignorance of Who Allah really was. The 99 Names project has had a profound and long-lasting effect on my Emaan. Not only do I feel a similar excitement as I felt when I first took my shahadah, I feel something deeper, more resonating. I have a knowledge of and feel a nearness to Allah that I had never felt before. When I began to experience this in the first week of the project, I knew I couldn’t stop. I wanted everyone to feel as I had felt. Know Allah as I had known Him. I wanted the entire ummah to grow together in this wonderful understanding of and reliance upon our Lord.

As you can imagine, there are many blessings in learning the 99 Names of Allah. Most importantly, it allows you to know your Lord on a deeper and more complex level and the better you know your Lord, the greater your love, faith and reliance upon Him, insha’Allah. You must ask yourself, how can you truly love Allah if you do not know Him? Studying His Names is the best way to understand, appreciate and grow near to Him, and understanding Him is the very foundation of your faith… so as long as you do not get to know your Lord, your faith is being stunted and falling short. And Allah knows best.

Another special advantage to knowing Allah’s Names is being able to call upon Him in the capacity that most fits your needs. When you suffer some injustice, you call upon “The Most Just,” when you complain of some illness or pain, you call upon “The One Who Cures;” when your faith is shaken and you Emaan is low, you call upon “The One Who Gives Emaan & Security.” Calling upon Allah by His Most Beautiful Names is highly recommended and it honestly makes your duaas feel more personal, like a one-on-one conversation with your Lord. Imagine, when you want something from your spouse (or parent or child, etc). Yknow how you call the person by some nickname you know they love? One, to show your endearment toward them, to make them happy and two, to soften their heart and sway their favor, i.e. soften them up to get what you want, lol.

You don’t call everyone you know by some sweet nickname, just the people who are closest to you. For me, calling upon Allah by the Names He loves is similar, but on a much greater level. I feel a closeness to Allah when I mention these Names in my duaas to Him, it feels more personal, as if not everyone knows this name or is calling upon Him by it in this moment, so my duaa feels more special to me… more specific and direct. What’s more, I know I am calling upon Him by a Name that He loves, which may then allow me to fall in His favor (i.e. grant my request)! So learning, understanding and using these names in my worship is a win-win!

Learning and acting with the understanding of His Names is an act loved by Allah and also a means to Paradise. “And to Allah belongs the Most Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them.” (7:180)

Abu Hurayrah (r) reported that the Prophet (S) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one. Whoever ‘ahsaaha‘ will enter Jannah.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The most important thing for us to remember is that the hadeeth says “man ahsaahaa”, meaning, whoever enumerates them, believes in them, ponders their meanings, worships Allah by them and supplicates with them, and acts by them according to one’s belief in them. So it’s not just about memorizing the names of Allah ta’ala, we must practice the above as well, insha’Allah.

 

The Resources

We are frequently asked about the resources used in the development of the graphics and card sets. As with all of our products and materials, we use only authentic resources in the making of our graphics/explanations in the 99 Names Card Sets. We have been especially cautious to avoid weak ahadith and unverified resources or explanations, for fear of spreading any false information or misguidance, insha’Allah.

Most of the online media (videos, primarily) that has been used in developing definitions has been posted in the supplementary materials on each page in the tabs beneath the graphics. For example, the video series’ by Dr Bilal Philips and brother Majed Mahmoud, also sourced from authentic sources.

There are many lists established by various scholars that enumerate the 99 Names of Allah based upon their own research. There are some variations in these lists, as the scholars used different parameters in establishing them. Our list of names is based upon the 99 Names of Allaah mentioned in Sheikh ibn Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawaa`id Al-Muthlaa, which were all derived from the authentic Quran and Sunnah.

We have done our best to explain and define the names with brevity, clarity and accuracy. We do not mention any specific ahadith or ayat in the short explanations on the graphics, because there simply is not space to add the evidences as well as the summarized explanations on each card. We also wanted to keep the definitions as concise and simple as possible, to encourage expanded study with the supplementary resources.

 

Our Primary Breadth of Resources is as follows:

  • List of Names: Sheikh ibn Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawaa`id Al-Muthlaa – List Available HERE
  • Video Series: In the Name of Allah by Dr Bilal Philips –  Available HERE
  • Video Series: Understanding Allah’s Beautiful Names by Br Majed Mahmoud – Available HERE
  • Video Series: The 99 Names of Allah by Dr Suhaib Hasan Abdul Ghaffar – Available HERE
  • Book: The Noble Quran – Available HERE
  • Book Series: Sahih Bukhari – Available HERE
  • Book Series: Sahih Muslim – Available HERE
  • Book Series: Tafseer Ibn Kathir – Available HERE
  • Book: An Explanation to the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah by Shaykh Nasir As-Sa’di – Available HERE
  • Book: Who Is Allah? His Names and Attributes and their Significance to the Individual  by Umm Abdurrahman Sakina Hirschfelder – Available HERE
  • Book: The Tree of Faith by Shaykh Abdur-Rahman Al Sa’di – Available HERE
  • Website: Understand Quran Academy – Asma ul Husna Series – Available HERE
  • Website: AbdurRahman.org – Several Articles – Available HERE
  • Website: Tayyibaat.com – Names of Allah Series – Available HERE
  • Website: Duas.com – Available HERE
  • Website: Salaf-us-Saalih.com – Several Articles – Available HERE
  • Website: Quran.com – {For faster search} – Available HERE
  • Website: Islam Q & A – Fataawa on the Topic – Available HERE
  • Web Document: Qabeelat Nurayn Projects Committee – Ahadun Ahad – Available HERE

 

The FAQS

1. Are you using the authentic Quran & Sunnah for your explanations?

Yes, as with all of our products and materials, we use only authentic resources (Quran, Sunnah, explanations by reputable scholars, and texts based upon the same) in the making of our graphics/explanations in the 99 Names Card Sets. We have been especially cautious to avoid weak ahadith and unverified resources or explanations, for fear of spreading any false information or misguidance, insha’Allah. Please review “The Resources” above for more info.

2. Where did you get your list of names?

Our list of names is based upon the 99 Names of Allaah mentioned in Sheikh ibn Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawaa`id Al-Muthlaa, which were all derived from the authentic Quran and Sunnah. There is a very popular list of names circulating that is based upon a weak hadith, we avoided this list, despite its popularity, in our commitment to providing only authentic information to our customer base and followers.

3. Why are the names out of order?

There is, in fact, no authentic “order” to the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah. The order often cited (and seen on many posters and recited in various nasheeds) comes from a weak hadith, which claims to list the full ninety-nine names, but has been discredited for various reasons, namely: -The list is mudraj from one of the narrators according to the expert traditionalists as stated by Ibn Kathir, ibn Hajar, and al-San’ani. -All the most reliable narrators make no mention of it. -It is missing many Names which are mentioned in the Quran or authentic ahadith. -Some of the Names mentioned in this particular hadith are not mentioned elsewhere and/or are highly disputed. Because of this, this hadith has been judged weak by many hadith scholars such as al-Tirmidhi himself, al-Nawawi, ibn Hajar, ibn Taymiyyah, ibn al-Qayyim, ibn Kathir, al-San’ani and others. Because there is no “list” or “order” provided elsewhere, and we do not use weak or fabricated resources for our materials, we do not follow any strict order in our project. We do try to group similar names together for ease of learning and follow the general grouping most commonly seen in our resources.

4. What scholars have compiled lists of Allah's Names?

Some of the scholars who have compiled lists of Allah’s Names: -Sufyan b. Uyaynah (entirely from the Quran) -Al-Tabari -Ibn Hazm (partial list) -Al-Qurtubi -Ibn Hajar (entirely from the Quran) -Ibn Uthaymeen (This is our source) -Al-Qahtani/Bin Baz -Muhammad al-Hamud al-Najdi

5. What is the importance of learning the beautiful Names of Allah?

Knowing the Beautiful Names of Allaah is very important indeed, for the following reasons: Knowledge of Allaah and His Names and Attributes is the noblest and best of all knowledge, because the level of honour of any kind of knowledge has to do with the object of knowledge, and the object of knowledge in this case is Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, through His Names, Attributes and Deeds. Occupying oneself with seeking this knowledge and studying it properly is the pursuit of the highest objective, and acquiring this knowledge is one of the best gifts a person may be given. Because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained it very clearly and was very keen to do so, the Sahaabah never disputed in this matter as they did over some of the rulings (ahkaam). Knowing Allaah makes a person love and fear Him, and put his hope in Him, and be sincere towards Him in his actions. This is the essence of human happiness. There is no way to know Allaah except by knowing His Most Beautiful Names and seeking a proper understanding of their meanings. Knowing Allaah by His Most Beautiful Names increases one’s faith, as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Believing in and knowing the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah includes the three types of Tawheed: Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Unity of Divine Lordship), Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Unity of the Divine Nature) and Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Unity of the Divine Names and Attributes). These three types of Tawheed form the essence and joy of faith (the word translated here as “joy” implies peace and relief from stress), and this knowledge is the basis and purpose of faith. The more a person learns about the Names and Attributes of Allaah, the more his faith increases and the stronger his conviction becomes.” (Al-Tawdeeh wa’l-Bayaan li Shajarat al-Eemaan by al-Sa’di, p. 41). Allaah created His creatures to know Him and worship Him. This is what is expected from them and what they are required to do, because as Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The key to the call of the Messengers, the essence of their Message, is knowing Allaah through His Names and Attributes and Deeds, because this is the foundation on which the rest of the Message, from beginning to end, is built.” (Al-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah ‘ala al-Jahamiyyah wa’l-Mu’attilah by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/150-151). So when a person occupies himself with learning about Allaah, he is doing what he was created for, but if he ignores the matter, he is neglecting what he was created for. The meaning of faith is not merely to utter words without knowing Allaah, because true faith in Allaah means that the slave knows the Lord in Whom he believes, and he makes the effort to learn about Allaah through His Names and Attributes. The more he learns about his Lord, the more he increases in faith. Knowledge of the Names of Allaah is the basis for all other knowledge, as Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Knowledge of the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge, for the objects of all these other branches of knowledge were either created or commanded by Him (the various branches of knowledge either deal with objects created by Him or with the laws and guidance revealed by Him). The reason for creation and guidance is found in His Most Beautiful Names (because He is the Creator, He creates things; because He is the Guide to the Straight Path, He reveals guidance, and so on)… Knowing the Most Beautiful Names is the basis of all objects of knowledge, because all knowledge stems from these Names…” (Bada’i’ al-Fawaa’id by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/163). From the book Asma’ Allaah al-Husnaa, pp. 6-8.

6. Is there any evidence that you are supposed to chant or repeat certain names of Allah for some benefit?

The practice of chanting or repeating “Allah,” “Huwa (He),” or particular Names of Allah a set number of times is a bid’ah (innovation) and is neither permissible nor beneficial. There are several duaas found in both the Quran and authentic Sunnah that include specific Names of Allah in their wording, duaas that we are encouraged to use. There are also several ahadith that explain methods of making dhikr by repeating PHRASES like “Al hamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, etc” a certain number of times. However, neither of these sources recommend simply repeating Allah’s Name (s) by itself, a set number of times to garner a specific result. Again, this is an innovation. Read more about this subject here: http://islamqa.info/en/9389

7. How can I get in touch if my question isn't answered here?

If you have additional questions about the project, card set, or graphics provided via the web, please comment below or use the “Contact Us” link to send us a message, insha’Allah.

More FAQs coming soon!

http://creative-motivations.com/contact-us/

 

I pray this article has been able to answer everyone’s questions about the project, insha’Allah. Join us on our journey to learn the Beautiful Names of Allah! May this be a rewarding and successful undertaking for us all. Ameen.

 

Salaam & Success!
Your Sister & Friend,

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