Human beings may never ceased in their search for Allaah. There appears to be a strong irrepressible yearning which drives mankind towards acquiring understanding and knowledge of Allaah. If the excellence and virtue of a kind of knowledge is according to its subjects matter, then the knowledge which acquaints us with our Lord, is the most excellent and virtuous of knowledge.
Someone who knows about Allaah is superior to someone who knows about worms, fish, the earth's strata, animals, stars or humanity. Ibn ai-Arabi (RAH) stated:
"The excellence and virtue of a piece of knowledge is according to its subject matter. The Creator is the Highest and Most Excellent of subject matters and therefore the knowledge of His Names is the most excellent and highest knowledge?" (Ahkam al-Qur'an)
Understanding the importance of the knowledge of Allaah, and applying that knowledge in life, is essential to submitting to Allaah. The current edition examines the Names and Attributes of Allah and their applications to our lives. May Allah benefit us.
Applying Knowledge of Allaah's Names and Attributes to our Lives
With knowledge must come action; that is, action according to that knowledge, which is righteous action. We should devote ourselves to Allaah by implementing the knowledge of Allaah: knowledge of His names and attributes and knowledge of what He likes and what He dislikes. This is done through obeying Allaah, striving to please Him, and directing one's heart towards Allaah. In particular, knowledge of Allaah, and of His names and attributes, can be applied via the following:
Praising Allaah with His names and attributes
''O you who have believed, remember Allaah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon." (Q33[Ahzab]: 41-42)
Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (RA) narrated that the Prophet (salallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"There is no one who loves praise more than Allaah." (Muslim)
One of the greatest means of earning Allaah's pleasure is by praising Him. This can be done with His names and attributes such as:
"And He is Allaah; there is no deity except Him. To Him is [due all] praise in the first [life] and the Hereafter. And His is the [final] decision, and to Him you will be returned." (Q28[Qasas]: 70)
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to say:
"O Allaah, You are the Source of Peace and Perfection, and from You is peace. Blessed are You, O Owner of Majesty and Honour." (Muslim)
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (salallaahu alayhi wa sallam) instructed:
"Say Subhanallahi (Glorified is Allah), Alhamdulillaah (All praise is for Allaah), and Allaahu akbar (Allaah is the Greatest) thirty-three times each after every prayer."(Muslim)
Abu Ayyash (RA) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) would say:
"There is none worthy of worship other than Allaah. He is One, He has no partner. Unto Him belongs the sovereignty and unto Him belongs the praise, and He is over everything All-powerful." (Abu Dawood)
Ibn 'Abbas said that the Prophet (salallaahu alayhi wa sallam) would also pray to Allaah during his night prayer: "
All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. All the praises are for You; You are the Sovereign of the Heavens and the Earth. All the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth " (Muslim)
Supplicating with Allaah's Names and Attributes
"And [a1l] the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them ..." (Q7[A'raf]: 180)
Ibn al-Qayyim (RA) explained how a person should supplicate with Allaah's names: He should ask for each thing that he wants with a Name that is in accordance with that desire or wish. In this way he petitions and entreats Allaah, the Almighty, with that particular Name.
Whoever considers the supplications of the Messengers finds that they conform to these principles. The person asking should use the Name that is in accordance with his request. You should say, for example: "Forgive me and have mercy on me, for You are the Forgiving, the Merciful."
Examples of supplicating in this manner can be found both in the Qur' an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). For instance, Allaah says:
"[Who say:] Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower." (Q3[Aal-lmran]: 8)
He also says:
"So [Sulaiman] smiled, amused at her [the ant's] speech, and said: 'My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which. You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks on Your righteous servants." (Q27[Naml]: 19)
The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"O Allaah, through Your knowledge of the unseen and Your power over the creation, cause me to live as long as You deem life better for me, and cause me to die when You deem death better for me. "(an-Nasa' i)
Also, Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-As (RA) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) prayed:
"O Allaah the One Who Turns Hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience." (Muslim)
He also supplicated with the following words: "O Ever-Living, O Sustainer and Protector of all that exists, by Your Mercy I beg for Your aid." (Tirmidhi)
Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: ''The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) heard a man saying:
O Allaah, I ask You, I bear witness that there is no god but You, the One, Self-Sufficient Master, Who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and to Whom no one is equal. He said: 'You have supplicated Allaah using His Greatest Name; when asked with this name, He gives, and when supplicated by this name He answers." (Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhi)
Reflecting on Allaah's Names and Attributes
Allaah says: "And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought." (Q45[Jaathiyah]: 13)
He also says: "Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an or are there locks upon [their1 hearts?" (Q47[Muhammad]:24)
One method of increasing faith and allowing peace into the heart is through reflecting on the verses of Allaah, the creation of Allah and the Greatness of Allaah. By letting the meanings of Allaah's names and attributes sink into your heart, your heart will find serenity, calmness and tranquillity. Your trust in Allaah will be given a boost, your 'faith will climb, and your submission to Allah will broaden.
Allaah says: "... Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (QI3[Ra'd): 28)
Contemplating Allaah's Power, His Magnificence, His Greatness, His complete ability to do anything, and His control and creation of everything, brings awe to the heart. Allaah is wondrous, and His creation is wondrous. Pondering such ideas fosters admiration, love and devotion in the soul.
Reflecting on Allaah's names and attributes can also create a sense of perspective in your own life. That is, life is for the pleasure of Allaah, for worshipping Allah and submitting to Him.
Certainly, everyone will soon' be standing before Allaah, answering for his or her deeds and hoping for His Mercy in the next life; so this life should be put in its proper perspective. Less weight should be given to events and trials in this life, as this life is temporary. When reflecting on Allaah, the purpose of this life becomes clear, and its value becomes clear as well. Life is a means to an end - Paradise.
" ...Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought." (Q10[Yunus]:24)
Memorizing and Comprehending Allaah's names
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet (salallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Allaah has ninety-nine names: one hundred less one; whoever memorizes and comprehends them enters paradise... " (Bukhari)
Ibn al- Jawzi (RAH) said, regarding this hadith: "Because the wording 'whoever memorizes them' is confirmed in some narrations of the hadeeth we understand that the intended meaning is al-udd (counting out, repetition). The meaning, therefore, is whoever counts them out or repeats them in order to perfect their memorization."
An-Nawawi (RAH) said that Imam Bukhari and', other scholars interpret the hadith to mean 'memorizes them'." Shaykh 'Umar al-Ashqar said: This is the most correct opinion, Allaah willing, because the memorization of these Blessed Names blesses and purifies the souls and fills them with most excellent and gracious Names.
This does not deny what the scholars have mentioned concerning the fact that whoever memorizes them must understand their meaning and supplicate Allaah with them. Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned as well that there are three levels of memorization of His Names.
• Memorizing the words used for the Names and understanding their meaning
• Supplicating to Allaah with them
• Acting according to the effects of Allaah's attributes
Every name and attribute of Allaah can have a corresponding effect upon a person; so in order to complete the application of knowledge of Allaah in our lives, we must act according to the effects of the attributes of Allah.
We can worship Allaah via this understanding, for an act of worship is associated with every attribute of Allaah.
For example, knowing that Allaah is the Seeing, Who has knowledge of everything, and that He is aware of everything in the heavens and earth, causes the humble servants to avoid disobeying Allaah.
- Knowing that Allaah is the Sovereign, the Judge and the Owner of the Day of Recompense, and that everyone will stand before Allaah for judgment, causes the humble servants to pay attention to their deeds, to make sure that they have plenty of good deeds and the fewest possible bad deeds.
- Knowing that Allaah is Merciful, Forgiving, Loving and Pardoning causes the humble 'servants to seek Allaah's forgiveness for their shortcomings and to cease committing sins, in hopes of His Mercy.
- Knowing that nothing happens except by Allaah's permission, knowing that He alone causes harm and brings benefit and that He gives life and death, causes .the humble servants to trust in Allaah and to bear burdens with patience and contentment.
- Knowing that Allaah is Generous, Kind, Gentle, and Gracious causes the hearts of His humble servants to fill with hope and produces an inclination to pursue' good deeds.
- Knowing that Allaah is Sublime, Great, Mighty, and Powerful causes the hearts of His humble servants to fill with submission, humility, and love for Allaah.
- Knowing that Allaah is Perfect and Beautiful causes the humble servants to love Allaah more than anyone or anything else.
- Knowing that Allaah is the Most Just and that He punishes, gets angry and becomes displeased causes the humble servants to fear Him and to restrain their desires for the forbidden.
- Knowing that Allaah commands and prohibits, promises rewards for good, and sends messengers and revelation to humankind, causes the humble servants to comply with His injunctions, to advise according to those injunctions and to invite humankind to the straight path.
- Knowing that Allaah is Sufficient for His slaves, that He is the Provider, and that He sends help and protection to His slaves, causes the humble servants to rely on Him and to be content with what is decreed for them.
- Knowing that Allaah is Glorified and Majestic causes humility and awe in the servants of Allaah.
Allaah is truly Praiseworthy, and so it is with every attribute of Allaah that a corresponding act of worship is associated with it. This brings into perspective the importance of understanding the names and attributes of Allaah. It is the means to perfecting the worship of Allah, to filling the heart and soul with undivided love and devotion to Allaah and to attaining contentment in this life and in the worship of Allaah.
The purpose of life is the worship of Allaah alone. The perfection of that worship is only possible by possessing knowledge of Allaah and then applying that knowledge in our lives.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited