Names of God in Judaism

The numerous titles for God have been a source of debate among biblical scholars. YHWH is the only proper name of God in the Tanakh in the sense of a personal name. Words such as Elohim (god, or authority), El (mighty one), El Shaddai (almighty), Adonai (master), Elyon (most high), Avinu (our father), are not names but titles, highlighting different aspects of YHWH and the various roles of God.

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Names of God in Islam

The 99 Names of God (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎ ʾasmāʾ allāh al-ḥusnā), are the Names of God (specifically, attributes) by which Muslims regard God and which are described in the Qur’an, and Sunnah, amongst other places. There is, according to hadith, a special group of 99 names but no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the Names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed 99 in the Qur’an and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud some of the names of God have been hidden from mankind, therefore there are not only 99 names of God but there are more.

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Names of God in Christianity

There are various names of God in Christianity. Some names refer to one person of the Trinity, while others refer to the entire Trinity. There are a number of names that can refer either to God the Father or to the entire Trinity, and often “God” is used directly. Many other terms, such as “The Creator”, is usually thought of as God’s attributes rather than names. “The Lord” is also a common Christian name for God.

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Names of God in humanity

Names of God, or Holy Names, describe a form of addressing God present in liturgy or prayer of various world religions. Prayer involving the Holy Name or the Name of God has become established as common spiritual practice in both Western and Eastern spiritual practices. A number of traditions have lists of many names of God, many of which enumerate the various qualities of the Supreme Being. According to Islam, the earliest mention of the name of God is found in the Koran sura 2, The Cow: “When your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am placing on the earth one that shall rule as My deputy,’ they replied: ‘Will You put there one that will do evil and shed blood, when we have for so long sung Your praises and sanctified Your Name?” Mohammad encouraged his followers to call upon God by any of His 99 Names. Judaism refers to 72 Divine Names, and the Hindu scripture Mahabharata contains a thousand names of Vishnu.

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God’s 99 Names in Islam

1 The Merciful

2 The Compassionate

“In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate….” (1:1)

The Merciful and the Compassionate are qualities derived from rahamâ (mercy). The concept of mercy requires that there be an object of mercy, someone or something in need. The needs of the needy are satisfied through the Merciful without any intention, choosing, willing, or asking by the needy one. The mercy of the Merciful is perfect in the sense that God not only wills the satisfaction of the needs of the needy, which shows concern, but actually satisfies them. The Merciful is all-inclusive in that mercy is extended to the worthy and the unworthy alike and includes all their needs. There is a Tradition where the Messenger says, “God Most High has one hundred portions of mercy. He has given only one portion to the universe and that God has divided among all of creation.” The feeling of mercy and compassion that God’s creatures feel for each other is from this. The other ninety-nine portions are reserved for the Day of Judgment when God will bestow it upon the believers. The Quran says, “My mercy embraces everything” (7:156). A distinction should be made between the meanings of the two qualities of the Merciful and the Compassionate. The basic meaning to be understood from the Merciful is a kind of mercy which is beyond the reach of human potential and provides the needs for the soul for all creatures in this world regardless of their worthiness. The Compassionate, on the other hand, is the quality that God manifests to the believers, “He is compassionate to the believers” (33:43). God shows compassion towards those who use their free will to choose His way in order to be saved in the Hereafter. This is why it is said God is compassionate towards His believers.

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