The All-Beautiful Names Of God

Since the time of the Last Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, the All-Beautiful Names of God, exalted is His Majesty, have been a right-guiding source for knowing and recognizing the Divine Being in accordance with His Attributes of Majesty and Grace, and for protecting those who have been able to study and understand them correctly from straying, and for pouring forth true knowledge about the truth of Divinity to those who have been so protected. Everyone who has set off to acquire true knowledge of God has advanced toward deepening in belief in the bright light of the All-Beautiful Names and in their areas of manifestation. In pursuit of true knowledge and love of God Almighty and in pursuit of spiritual pleasures, they have giv­en these Names into the hands of their outer and inner faculties, like so many mysterious keys that will open the doors of knowing Him in accordance with His “true Nature or Identity;” thus they have advanced toward the horizon of “seeing,” knowing, and experiencing Him in the light of the truth that radiates through these doors.

Allah's names

Allah’s names

Even if from the earliest days of Islam the All-Beautiful Names have always been a pure source for those who want to have recourse to them for knowledge of God, they began to be studied and discussed systematically in later eras. So many books, brief or detailed, in prose or in verse, have been written about the All-Beautiful Names of God that it is not possible to determine them or to mention all of them. My following citations are only a drop in the ocean:

  • Tafsirul-Asma’il-Husna (“The Interpretation of the All-Beautiful Names”) by Abu Ishaq az-Zajjaj,88
  • Al-Minhaj fi Shu‘abil-Iman (“The Highway Concerning the Branches of Faith”) by al-Halimi,89
  • Al-Asma’ wa’s-Sifat (“The Names and the Attributes”) by ‘ Abdu’l-Qahir al-Baghdadi,90
  • Al-Maqsadu’l-Athna’ fi Sharhi Asma’illahi’l-Husna (“The Best Means in Explaining the All-Beautiful Names of God”) by Imam al-Ghazzali,91
  • Al-Amadu’l-Aqsa’ (“The Farthest Aim”) by Abu Bakr ibnu’l­‘Arabi,92
  • Lawa’mi‘ul-Bayyinat (“Rays of Clarifications”) by Fakhru’d-Din ar-Razi,93
  • Al-Kitabu’lAthna’ fi Sharhi Asma’illahi’l-Husna (“The Book of the Means to Explain the All-Beautiful Names of God”) by al-Qurtubi,94
  • Al-Jami‘ li-Asma’il-Husna (“The Compendious Book of the All-Beautiful Names”) which Hamid Ahmad Tahir, Ayman Abdu’r-Razzaq, and Yusuf ‘Ali compiled from Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya,95 al -Qurtubi, Allama as-Sa‘di,96 Ibn Kathir,97 and al -Bayhaqi,98
  • Kashfu’l-Ma‘na an Sirri Asma’illahi’l-Husna (“Unveiling the Mystery of God’s All-Beautiful Names”) by Muhyi’d-Din ibnu’l-‘Arabi,
  • Asma’ullahi’l-Husna (“The All-Beautiful Names of God”) by ‘Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani99 in prose,
  • Al-Maqsadu’l-Athna’ fi Sharhi Asma’illahi’l-Husna (“The Best Means in Explaining the All-Beautiful Names of God”) by Ahmad ibn Ahmad Zarruq,100
  • Sharhu Asma’illahi’l-Husna (“Explaining the All-Beautiful Names of God”), by Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri,101
  • Sharhi Asma’il-Husna (“Explaining the All-Beautiful Names”) by Muhammed İbrahim Efendi in Turkish,
  • Kur’an’da Uluhiyet (Divinity in the Qur’an) by Professor Suat Yıldırım,102

These works can be cited with appreciation and prayers to God that they may be favored with the approval of God Almighty.

The All-Beautiful Names are God’s Names of Glory Which mean the All-Beautiful and All-Exalted Names. The Divine Names are mentioned with this title both in the Qur’an and the accurately related sayings of our master, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. Among these Names, Allah (God) is in the form of noun, while the others are in the form of adjectives. The glorious Name Allah (God), Which is the Word of Majesty, is the all-glorious Title of the Divine Essence, Which encompasses all the other Names; it is not possible to express Its meaning with another word.

Among the All-Beautiful Names, those such as al-Quddus (The All-Holy and All-Pure), as-Salam (The Supreme Author of peace and salvation), al-Ahad (The Unique One of absolute Oneness), and al-Wahid (The One of absolute Unity) mark, like the Attributes of Exemption, the all-holiness, all-purity, and absolute uniqueness of the Divine Being. The all-glorious Names al-Hayy (the All-Living), al-‘Alim (the All-Knowing), as-Sami‘ (the All-Hearing), al-Basir (the All-Seeing), al-Murid (the All-Willing), al-Qadir (the All-Powerful), and al-Mutakallim (the All-Speaking) appear as translators of the Positive or Affirmative Attributes; the all-sacred Names, such as al- Khaliq (the Creator), al-Mubdi (the All-Initiating), al-Muhyi (the All-Reviving, the Giver of life), al-Mumit (The One Who causes to die), ar-Razzaq (the All-Providing), al-Wahhab (the All-Bestowing), al-Ghaffar (the All-Forgiving), as-Sattar (the All-Veiling), al-Bari (the All-Holy Creator), and al-Mu­sawwir (the All-Fashioning) are indicative of the manifestations of the Attribute of Making Exist on different wavelengths.

Whatever truth of the Divine Essence the Names reflect and whatever Attribute they translate, all of the  All-Beautiful Names of God are expressive of a different beauty, sacredness, sanctity, and perfection in the name of that All-Transcending Being. Whenever they are mentioned, they mark the limits of the truths for belief with their meanings, contents, and luminosity, they arouse respect in believing spirits, and cause the hearts that beat with respect to turn to God once again, more deeply. Every blessed Name Which is mentioned in awareness in the depths of one’s conscience removes the filth, soot, and rust from eyes and hearts, rips up the veils of corporeality, and shows spirits to the realms beyond and what lies further beyond. They remind us of the All-Sacred One to Whom they refer, as if they were our intercessors with Him; as long as people remember and mention God with these Names, hearts find contentment and rest. Furthermore, according to the rule, “The value of the knowledge is proportionate to what is known,” those who know these blessed Names with respect to the Divine Being and attain certain degrees of profundity through them are greatly valued by the inhabitants of the heavens and included in the candidates for the Divine Presence. If being a candidate for the Divine Presence depends on true knowledge of Him, then that All-Majestic, All-Exalted Being can only be known with His Attributes of Majesty and Grace in the luminous atmosphere of these Names. We know things only according to the limited extent of our sensations of their corporeal beings, and judge them accordingly. But true knowledge about God Almighty with His all-transcending Existence can only be acquired by knowing the totality of all of His All-Beautiful Names; He can be known only beyond all modalities of quality and quantity. This reality also indicates that He is a Necessarily Existent Being Whose Existence is by Himself. This is what all Muslims believe.

Some scholars of Sufism and the Islamic creed have regarded the All-Beautiful Names as the foundation of the truths of the universe, things, and humanity. They have made a highly different interpretation of these Names, saying: “The truths of things consist in the Divine Names.” According to them, all things, as well as all the willful and “instinctive” acts of human beings and other beings—without ignoring the role of the free will in the acts of human beings—are only mirrors that reflect the manifestations of the Divine Names. Bodies are only assemblages of material particles and compounds, while the Divine Names are in effect the spirits that reside in them. As for the true nature of these manifestations and the All-Majestic, All-Exalted Divine Being Himself, before Whom the Names are veils, we should act in self-possession and remain in wonder, saying like the scholars of the Ahlu’s-Sunna: “God is completely different from whatever comes to your mind concerning Him,” or in the words of Imam ar-Rabbani: “God is beyond and further beyond whatever comes to your mind concerning Him.” Even though certain impulses that arise from feelings or fanciful attitudes, or, in the words of Imam al -Ghazzali, “the worldly reason or intellect” cloud our atmosphere of spirit and heart, we should try to remain within the limits of our creed, saying like Ziya Pasha:103 “Perception of such transcendent matters is not something for our incapable reason / For these scales cannot measure such a great load.”

If God Almighty had not introduced Himself to us with His All-Beautiful Names, we would never be able to comprehend the truth concerning these Names in what is going on in the universe or to know the All-Sacred Being Who is called by them. It is only through His making His Being, His Essential Characteristics, and His Attributes of Glory known that we are able to have  knowledge of the truths that we know today, even though this is incomplete. It is our belief that the Names in question are the titles of His Being; as a result we try to acquire bits of knowledge about the truth of Divinity, voicing our requests at His door, which is open to all, and constantly observe these Names in hopeful expectation that our requests will certainly be answered, provided we submit to His judgments and commands. We believe that we can overcome our various troubles and ailments and be saved from our centuries-old problems by turning to Him, using these Names, each of Which has the effect of a different mysterious medication, as intercessors with Him.

We approach the All-Beautiful Names and understand them in accordance with whatever meaning they have in God’s sight and in the way the master of creation, upon him be the most perfect of blessings and peace, perceived and interpreted them. We regard opposing considerations as deviance in thought and belief. How can we think and act otherwise when the Qur’an tells us that the denial of the Names, whether explicitly or by way of misguided interpretations, or the attribution of them, with their meanings and contents that are unique to God, to others than God is heresy? Declaring,

God—there is no deity save Him; His are the All-Beautiful Names (20:8),

the Qur’an refers the whole of existence, including humankind and the universe with whatever occurs in it, to those All-Beautiful Names.

It is of great importance that every responsible person has recourse to the Divine Names so that they can have accurate knowl­edge of God and entreat Him properly and be able to establish a proper relationship with their Creator. We begin every good deed with His Names, and render every act of service under their supervision. We believe that any work done without having recourse to these will be fruitless. The Names Allah (God) and ar-Rahman (the All-Merciful) are of particular importance and have a special place in the Divine Being’s sight. They are the first door through which we enter the clime of prayers and entreaties.

Even though some philosophers and the theologians influenced by them have put forward certain differing views about the All-Beautiful Names, as they have done for the Attributes, the scholars of the Ahlu’s-Sunna have always acted with care, sensitivity, and self-possession. Without going into detail or useless interpretations, they have maintained that the Names can be identical to or separate from the Divine Essence. It has sometimes happened that they have asserted in a moderate style that the Names are neither identical to nor separate from the Divine Essence, thus preferring to distance themselves from further discussion.

Some others among the Sufis have opined that the All-Beautiful Names, Which we know and recite, are in fact the titles of the real Names, while the truth of Names lies beyond them. They have approached the matter of the Names, saying like Yunus Emre:104 “There is Süleyman within Süleyman,” and asserted that there is a relation between the Names we know and the real Divine Names that are behind existence which is similar to the relation between the corporeal heart and the spiritual heart and that which exists between the spirit and the body. They have stressed that the real Names can only be realized through a profound spiritual experience and the ecstasy of feeling God’s holy Presence.

No matter what their true nature is, the All-Beautiful Names Which God Almighty has taught us in His manifest Book are each a mysterious key for a certain sort of relationship with Him in the heart and the spirit; through these we can traverse our distance from Him, advancing toward nearness to Him, something that we are aware of in our conscience. They are each a mysterious word which gives an answer when uttered. Those who possess these keys and regularly recite these luminous words are not left unanswered even when they attempt to purchase all the worlds, and are not turned back with empty hands when they become customers for the realms beyond.

Experiencing and knowing the All-Beautiful Names with their own depths is a Divine favor for God’s servants and a pleasure which will enrich their spirits, and in respect of their outer and inner senses or faculties, it is an awareness of “seeing,” knowing, and experiencing Him and of being seen and known by Him. Those who reach this horizon work for God’s sake, begin every task for God’s sake, and do whatever they do for God’s sake; in the words of Bediüzzaman, they can make the seconds of their life as fruitful as the years of other people by moving and stopping “for God,” “for God’s sake,” and “for the good pleasure of God.” Why should this not be possible, as the servants are His servants, the Names are His Names, it is He Who is called by these Names, and the door to which the servants turn is His door?

Allah's 99 names in Arabic

Allah‘s 99 names in Arabic

Some scholars have asserted that God’s Names are only those Which God and His Messenger have taught us as Divine Names, and it is not acceptable to derive Names from certain Divine Acts or to attribute them to God as being among His All-Beautiful Names. However, it is a fact that many Divine Acts are mentioned in the Qur’an in a way that will lead to different Names. Moreover, God Almighty has not taught us all of His Names. As our master, upon him be peace and blessings, stated in his prayer that begins with, “O God, I am Your servant, and the son of Your male servant, and the son of Your female servant,”105 in addition to the All-Beautiful Names Which are mentioned in the Qur’an and certain Prophetic sayings, God has Names Which He mentioned in the previous Divine Books or Which He particularly informed some of His servants about or Which He keeps concealed with Him. However, we cannot know any of His Names unless He teaches them to us. We can know only the Names Which He has taught us either in the Qur’an or in the Sunna. Abu Hurayra, may God be pleased with him, narrates 99 Divine Names from the noblest Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings.106 Even though these same Names are narrated from the Prophet by Salmanu’l-Farisi, ‘ Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘ Abdul­lah ibn ‘Umar, and Caliph ‘Ali, may God be pleased with them, these narrations have not been authenticated. Some assert that the number 99 was used as a symbol of multiplicity in the hadith related by Abu Hurayra, therefore we cannot say that God’s All-Beautiful Names are restricted to 99.

Those who have maintained that the All-Beautiful Names are only those which we have been taught by the Qur’an and the Sun­na do not deem it proper to attribute any other Names to God Almighty. Furthermore, they do not approve of mentioning God with any names that do not seem to be in keeping with the Qur’anic concept of Divinity when used singly. Therefore, they tend to mention such Names as the All-Requiting, the One Who gives harm, and the All-Constricting together with certain other Names, such as the All-Glorious with irresistible might and the All-Requiting, the One Who gives harm and benefit, the All-Constricting and the All-Expanding. Based on the fact that physical causes have been established as veils before the Divine Power’s involvement in insignificant-seeming affairs, it is possible to say that believers must always act in self-possession and with respect, care, and sensitivity with respect to how they approach the Divine Being. God is the Creator of everything, and therefore believers must mention Him as the Creator and avoid making specifications, such as the Creator of snakes or the Creator of vermin. However, we must also avoid going to the opposite extreme while taking care that anything improper for God should not be attributed to Him, and must not claim, like the Mu‘talizis, that human beings are the creators of their deeds and God does not create evil or ugly things or events. For it is He Who creates both good and evil, and a thing or event is evil not with respect to its creation but with respect to its doer and cause. This attitude is required by both the necessity of considering God’s Attributes correctly and observing the decrees and effects of Divine Essential Characteristics, Attributes, and All-Beautiful Names. God is both the One of absolute grandeur and glory and the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate; He is both the All-Overwhelming and the All-Wise, both the One Severe in Punishment and the All-Patient (Whom no haste induces to rush into an action). He is both the All-Majestic and the All-Gracious, and the All-Just and the All-Clement. We must always view Him in the light of the general meaning and content that is formed by the totality of His Attributes and Names.

The acts and designations attributed to God or mentioned in connection with Him must be considered from the perspective of His absolute Sacredness and Purity and His absolute exemption from any defect or resemblance to the created. For example, concepts such as making schemes, plotting, mocking, disgracing, or the like must be viewed and used in a style proper for the truth of Divinity and the essential characteristic of Divine Lordship. This is because respect for the Names and observing a style that is in keeping with God’s absolute exemption from any defect or resemblance means being respectful for the All-Sacred One Who is called by these Names. Not only should the All-Beautiful Names be considered with appreciation and without imputing any faults or defects to them, also the Divine acts and all works or creatures of the Lord, which are mirrors, results, and the arena of the manifestations of these Names, must be treated the same on account of their being indicators or witnesses of God Almighty. Those who rightfully approach the matter from this perspective remind us of an important point: we must always be appreciative of Divine Acts, hold the Divine Names as being absolutely free from any defect, and exalt the All-Sacred Divine Being.

With respect to the level of existence of everything and as it is something that has been created, every being, every object speaks of Him in its own peculiar language and style. All creatures say in unison:

Our words differ, but Your Beauty is one;
all of them indicate that All-Beautiful “Face.”

If a person can look at existence with their conscience and lend an ear to the messages of events, they will discern the reality expressed by Hodja Tahsin:

Contemplate the lines of the universe,
for they are missives to you from the Highest Realm

How can this reality not be discerned seeing that His Being is, in one sense, announced through the lines of the universe, and His Knowledge, Life, Power, and Will are voiced through them, that the manifestations of His Names of Glory are known through them on different wavelengths, and everything gives us great joy and happiness through the most delicate embroideries of the subtlest art, order and harmony they display?

I should point out once more that even though the most accurately narrated Tradition concerning the All-Beautiful Names is the one reported by Abu Hurayra, may God be pleased with him, according to the majority of scholars the Divine Names are not restricted to those mentioned in this Tradition. On the contrary, there are many other Divine Names that are mentioned in both the Qur’an and the Sunna, both explicitly and by allusion. The 99 blessed Names mentioned in the Tradition in question may have special importance in respect of prayers, entreaties, supplications, and particular instances of turning to God Almighty. For as mentioned above, there are other Names that certain other people have been informed of but Which have not been disclosed to everyone. The number of the Names Which are mentioned in the Qur’an and the books of the accurately related Prophetic Traditions in the forms of nouns, adjectives, and verbal nouns is as much as 550, and even reaches 1,000 in the Traditions related by members of the Prophet’s Family.

In some cultures, God Almighty is mentioned with the names or titles Which are not opposed to the Qur’anic concept of the Divine Being such as the One having no beginning, the Eternal in the past, the Eternal in the future, the Perpetual, the Everlasting, the Necessarily Existent Being, the Ever-Turner of hearts or the Ever-Disposer of hearts. “Tanrı” in Turkish and “Huda” in Persian can be viewed as being Names in the same strain. However, the promise for entering Paradise in return for consideration of God’s Names seems to relate to the Tradition reported by Abu Hurayra. That is, it was promised that one would enter Paradise if they considered God’s Names that were mentioned in the Prophetic Tradition reported by Abu Hurayra. We refer the truth of the matter to God Almighty; we turn to the scholars of Hadith for what is meant by consideration. They understand from this the regular, heart-felt recitation of those Names and the illumination of one’s inner world through them, as well as being respectful for the concept of the Divine Being that arises from their totality, following the principles of good conduct they provide, and trying to be aware of the mysteries of Divinity expressed by them.

All of the All-Beautiful Names are absolutely sacred. Some have regarded it impermissible to use some of these Names for others than God. These are Names like Allah (God), ar-Rahman (the All-Merciful), al-Quddus (The All-Holy and All-Pure), al-Muhyi, (The Giver of life and All-Reviving), al-Mumit (The One Who causes to die), Maliku’l-Mulk (The Absolute Master of all dominion), Dhu’l-Jalali wa’l-Ikram (The One of Majesty and Grace), al-Akbar (The All-Great, the Greatest of all), al-‘A’la (The All-Exalted), al-Khaliq (The Creator), ‘ Allamu’l-Ghuyub (The All-Knowing of the whole of the Unseen), and so on. If people want to give these Names to their children then they should add the word ‘abd (servant) before them. For example, they must use ‘Ab­dullah (God’s servant), ‘Abdur-Rahman (the servant of the All-Merciful), and ‘Abdul-Quddus (the servant of the All-Holy and All-Pure). This knowledge of the Divine Names and this approach to both the Divine Names and the truths of Divinity are unique to the Muslim Community. This approach is exceptionally important, particularly in respect of reflecting the difference between the Creator and the created correctly; this is required by the Divinity as well as by the fact that God is the absolutely and exclusively All-Worshipped One. This is also our duty.

In fact, God’s Essential, Affirmative, and Figurative Attributes and His Attributes of Exemption confirm this truth and call us to this accurate approach. For this reason, in addition to knowing Him as the All-Knowing, the All-Living, the All-Powerful, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the All-Willing, and the All-Speaking, based on their Affirmative Attributes, we must also affirm His absolute freedom from whatever is inappropriate for Divinity such as impotence, poverty, neediness, defects, and having partners. Furthermore, we must in no way attribute any features that are peculiar to the created to God, such as being concerned with matter, time, space, physicality, or energy. We must believe that, in the words of Ibrahim Haqqi of Erzurum, God is an All-Majestic, All-Exalted Being Who never eats or drinks, and Who is absolutely beyond time and space.

As will be mentioned below, some verifying scholars have divided the Divine Names into the categories such as the Names indicating the Divine Essence, the Names originating in the Affirmative Divine Attributes, and the Names indicating the  Divine Acts. They have also regarded some Names as being the leaders or foundations of all the Names, and have made another categorization under the titles of the Names of Majesty and the Names of Grace. They have considered all the Names to be the foundation or source in which the truths of things originate or even these truths themselves, as well as being the means of all things being transferred from the Realm of the Unseen to the visible or manifest world through the Divine Knowledge, Wisdom, Will, and Power. Such scholars have stressed that these all-blessed Names are veils before the All-Sacred One Who is called by them. It is He alone Who knows the exact truth of everything, and what we must do is to believe in whatever He teaches us. It is unnecessary to make a detailed explanation of the All-Beautiful Names here as there are numerous studies that have been made so to date—a few of these were mentioned at the beginning of this article. You will find below the most widely known Divine Names only with just brief definitions.

O God! Show us the truth as being true and enable us to follow it; show us falsehood as being false and enable us to refrain from it. And bestow blessings and peace on our master Muhammad and on his Family and Companions, all of them.

The Names Indicating the Divine Essence

  • Allah: God, the Proper Name of the Divine Being
  • (Ar-)Rabb: The Lord (God as the Creator, Provider, Trainer, Upbringer, and Director of all creatures)
  • (Al-)Malik: The All-Sovereign, the Owner and Master of everything
  • (Al-)Quddūs: The All-Holy and All-Pure (Who is absolutely free of any defect)
  • (As-)Salam: The Supreme Author of peace and salvation
  • (Al-)Mu’min: The Supreme Author of safety and security
  • (Al-)Muhaymin: The All-Watchful Guardian
  • (Al-)‘Aziz: The All-Glorious with irresistible might
  • (Al-)Jabbar: The One Who manifests His Will and Grandeur
  • (Al-)Fard: The All-Independent, Single One (free from having any equals or likes in His Essence and Attributes)
  • (Al-)Mutakabbir: The One Who has exclusive right to all greatness and manifests it
  • (Al-)‘Aliyy: The All-Exalted
  • (Az-)Zahir: The All-Outward, Whose existence is the most manifest
  • (Al-)Batin: The All-Inward, Whose Essence cannot be comprehended
  • (Al-)Kabir: The All-Great
  • (Al-)Jalil: The All-Majestic and All-Supreme
  • (Al-)Majid: The All-Sublime, the All-Illustrious
  • (Al-)Haqq: The Ultimate Truth and Ever-Constant
  • (Al-)Matin: The All-Forceful and All-Able
  • (Al-)Wajid: The Ever-Present and All-Finding
  • (As-)Samad: The Eternally All-Besought, Himself being needy of nothing
  • (Al-)Awwal: The First Whom there is none that precedes
  • (Al-)Akhir: The Last Whom there is none that will outlive
  • (Al-)Muta‘ali: The All-Transcending
  • (Al-)Ghaniyy: The All-Wealthy and Self-Sufficient
  • (An-)Nur: The All-Light, Who is the unique source of all illumination
  • (Al-)Warith: The One Who survives all beings and inherits them
  • Dhu’l-Jalal wa’l-ikram: The One of absolute Majesty and Grace
  • (Ar-)Raqib: The All-Watchful
  • (Al-)Baqi: The Eternally All-Permanent
  • (Al-)Hamid: The All-Praiseworthy
  • (Al-)Wahid: The One of absolute Unity (Who is absolutely indivisible and having no partners and equals)
  • (Al-)Ahad: The All-Unique of Absolute Oneness (Who is beyond all kinds of human conceptions and absolutely free from having any partners, likes, parents, sons or daughters)

The Names Originating in Divine Attributes of Glory

  • (Al-)Hayy: The All-Living
  • (Ash-)Shakur: The All-Responsive (to the good and gratitude of His creatures)
  • (Al-)Qahhar: The All-Overwhelming (with absolute sway over all that exists)
  • (Al-)Qahir: The All-Overpowering, Who crushes those who deserve crushing
  • (Al-)Muqtadir: The All-Omnipotent
  • (Al-)Qawiyy: The All-Strong
  • (Al-)Murid: The All-Willing
  • (Al-)Qadir: The All-Powerful
  • (Ar-)Rahman: The All-Merciful (Who has mercy on the whole of existence and provides for all of them)
  • (Ar-)Rahim: The All-Compassionate (Who has particular compassion for each of His creatures in their maintenance, and for His believing servants especially in the other world)
  • (As-)Subhan: The All-Glorified
  • (As-)Sultan: The Absolute, Eternal Authority
  • (Al-)Karim: The All-Munificent
  • (Al-)Ghaffar: The Ever All-Forgiver
  • (Al-)Ghafur: The All-Forgiving
  • (Al-)Wadud: The All-Loving and All-Beloved
  • (Ar-)Rauf: The All-Pitying
  • (Al-)Halim: The All-Clement (showing no haste to punish the errors of His servants)
  • (Al-)Barr: The All-Benign
  • (As-)Sabur: The All-Patient (Whom no haste induces to rush into an action)
  • (Al-)‘Alim: The All-Knowing
  • (Al-)Khabir: The All-Aware
  • (Al-)Muhsi: The All-Counting and Recording
  • (Al-)Hakim: The One Who does everything properly, the All-Wise
  • (Ash-)Shahid: The All-Witnessing
  • (As-)Sami‘: The All-Hearing
  • (Al-)Basir: The All-Seeing
  • (Al-)‘Afuww: The All-Pardoning (Who overlooks the faults of His servants and grants remission)

The Names Indicating Divine Acts

  • (Al-)Mubdi: The All-Initiating
  • (Al-)Wakil: The One to rely on and to Whom affairs should be entrusted
  • (Al-)Baith: The One Who restores life to the dead
  • (Al-)Mujib: The All-Answering (of prayers) and Meeting (of needs)
  • (Al-)Wasi‘: The All-Embracing (in His Knowledge and Mercy)
  • (Al-)Hasib: The All-Sufficing as One Who reckons and settles the accounts (of His servants)
  • (Al-)Mughis: The One Who gives extra help
  • (Al-)Hafiz: The All-Preserving and Keeper of records, the All-Protecting
  • (Al-)Khaliq: The Creator (Who determines measure for everything and makes things and beings exist out of nothing)
  • (as-)Sani‘: The Maker
  • (Al-)Bari: The All-Holy Creator (Who is absolutely free from having any partners and Who creates without imitating anything)
  • (Al-)Musawwir: The All-Fashioning
  • (Ar-)Razzaq: The All-Providing
  • (Al-)Wahhab: The All-Bestowing
  • (As-)Sattar: The All-Veiling (of His servants’ shortcomings and sins)
  • (Al-)Fatir: The AllOriginating (with a unique individuality)
  • (Al-)Fattah: The One Who opens the door of good
  • (An-)Nasir: The All-Helping and Giver of victory
  • (Al-)Kafi: The All-Sufficing
  • (Al-)Qabid: The All-Constricting; the One Who takes the souls of living beings
  • (Al-)Basit: The All-Expanding
  • (Al-)Hafid: The One Who lowers and humiliates whom He wills
  • (Ar-)Rafi‘: The All-Elevating
  • (Al-)Mu‘izz: The All-Exalting and Honoring
  • (Al-)Mudhill: The All-Abasing
  • (Al-)Hakam: The All-Judging (Who settles the matters between people)
  • (Al-)‘Adl: The All-Just
  • (Al-)Latif: The All-Subtle (penetrating into the minutest dimensions of all things and providing for all)
  • (Al-)Mu‘id: The All-Returning and Restoring (the One Who causes to die after life and returns the dead to life)
  • (Al-)Muhyi: The Giver of life and All-Reviving
  • (Al-)Mumit: The One Who causes to die; the All-Dealing of death
  • (Al-)Waliyy: The Guardian, the Protecting Friend (to rely on)
  • (At-)Tawwab: The One Who guides to repentance, accepts repentance, and returns it with liberal forgiveness and additional reward
  • (Al-)Muntaqim: The Ever-Able to requite
  • (Al-)Muqsit: The All-Dealing of justice
  • (Al-)Jami‘: The One having all excellences to the infinite degree; the All-Gathering
  • (Al-)Mughni: The All-Enriching
  • (Al-)Mani‘: The All-Preventing and Withdrawing; the One Who does not give whatever He does not will to give
  • (Ad-)Darr: The Creator of evil and harm
  • (An-)Nafi‘: The All-Favoring and Giver of benefits
  • (Al-)Hadi: The All-Guiding
  • (Al-)Badi‘: The One Who originates in unique fashion and with nothing preceding Him to imitate
  • (Ar-)Rashid: The All-Guide to what is correct
  • (Al-)Qayyūm: The Self-Subsisting (by Whom all subsist)
  • Maliku’l-mulk: The absolute Master of all dominion
  • (Al-)Mu‘akhkhir: The One Who leaves behind
  • (Al-)Muqaddim: The One Who causes to advance, Who moves things forward
  • (Al-)Muqit: The All-Aiding and Sustaining
  • (al-)Wali: The All-Governing

The Foundational Names

  • (Al-)Hayy: The All-Living
  • (Al-)‘Alim: The All-Knowing
  • (Al-)Murid: The All-Willing
  • (Al-)Mutakallim: The All-Speaking
  • (Al-)Qadir: The All-Powerful
  • (Al-)Jawad: The All-Generous
  • (Al-)Muqsit: The All-Dealing of justice

The Names of Majesty

  • (Al-)Kabir: The All-Great
  • (Al-)‘Aziz: The All-Glorious with irresistible might
  • (Al-)‘Alim: The All-Knowing
  • (Al-)Jalil: The All-Majestic and All-Supreme
  • (Ad-)Dayyan: The Supreme Ruler and All-Requiting (of good and evil)
  • (Al-)Majid: The All-Sublime, the All-Illustrious
  • (Al-)Mumit: The One Who causes to die; the All-Dealing of death
  • (Ad-)Darr: The Creator of evil and harm
  • (Al-)Muntaqim: The All-Requiting

The Names  of Grace

  • (Ar-)Rahim: The All-Compassionate (Who has particular compassion for each of His creatures in their maintenance, and for His believing servants especially in the other world)
  • (Al-)Jamil: The All-Gracious and All-Beautiful
  • (As-)Salam: The Supreme Author of peace and salvation
  • (Al-)Muhyi: The Giver of life and All-Reviving
  • (Al-)Mu’min: The Supreme Author of safety and security
  • (Al-)Latif: The All-Subtle (penetrating into the minutest dimensions of all things and providing for all)
  • (Ar-)Razzaq: The All-Providing
  • (Al-)Khallaq: The Supreme Creator
  • (Al-)Awwal: The First (Whom there is none that precedes)
  • (Al-)Akhir: The Last (Whom there is none that will outlive)
  • (Az-)Zahir: The All-Outward, Whose existence is the most manifest
  • (Al-)Batin: The All-Inward, Whose Essence cannot be comprehended
  • (Al-)Qarib: The All-Near

By M. Fethullah Gulen


    1. Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn as-Sirri az-Zajjaj (d., 924) was a philologist and interpreter of the Qur’an. Among his works are Ma‘aniu’l-Qur’an and Tafsiru Jami‘i’l-Mantiq. (Tr.)
    2. Abu ‘Abdullah Husayn ibn Hasan al-Halimi (949–1012) was a famous Shafi‘i juris­prudent and scholar of Hadith. He was a judge in al-Bukhara. (Tr.)
    3. Abdu’l-Qahir ibn Tahir ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi (d., 429) was a jurist, scholar of principles of religion and theology, man of letters, grammarian, and mathematician. He settled in Naysabur in Khurasan. Among his works are Bulughu’l-Mada min Usuli’l-Huda, Fada’ihu’l-Karramiyya, and al-Farq Bayna’l-Firaq. (Tr.)
    4. Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali (d. 1111): A major theologian, jurist, and sage who was considered a reviver (of Islam’s purity and vitality) during his time. Known in Europe as Algazel, he was the architect of Islam’s later development. He wrote many books, the most famous being Ihyau ‘Ulumi’d-Din (“Reviving the Religious Sciences”). (Tr.)
    5. Abu Bakr Ibnu’l-‘Arabi (d., 1148) was a Muslim from Spain. He was a master of al-Maliki jurisprudence. He also contributed to the spread of al-Ash‘ari theology in Spain. His most famous works are ‘Aridatu’l-Ahwazi (a commentary on Sunanu’t-Tirmidhi), and Ahkamu’l-Qur’an. (Tr.)
    6. Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibni’l-Husayn Fakhru’d-Din ar-Razi (1149– 1209) was a very famous Muslim theologian, philosopher, and a commentator on the Qur’an. He was born in Ray, now a district of modern Tehran. He died in Herat, in modern Afghanistan. He also wrote on Islamic law, medicine, physics, astrology, literature, and history. His most famous work is at-Tafsiru’l-Kabir (“The Great Commentary on the Qur’an”) known as Mafatihu’l-Ghayb (Keys to the Unseen). (Tr.)
    7. al-Qurtubi, Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Qurtubi ( 1214–1273) was a famous Sunni Maliki scholar. He lived in al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) and Egypt. He was specialized in fiqh and Hadith. The most famous of his works is his twenty-volume tafsir, al-Jami‘ li-Ahkami’l-Qur’an. (Tr.)
    8. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (d., 1350): A famous, all-round scholar and a disciple of Ibn Taymiya who is also considered to be among the best representatives of his school of thought. (Tr.)
    9. ‘Allama ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Nasir as-Sa‘di (1889–1956) was a prominent scholar. He was born and lived in Saudi Arabia. He wrote on matters concerning Islamic jurisprudence, Hadith, Qur’anic commentary, and language. Among his works are Taysiru’l-Karim ar-Rahman fi Tasfsiri’l-Qur’an, Minhaju’s-Salikin and al-Qawanin wa’l-Usulu’l-Jami‘a wa’l-Furuq wa’t-Taqasimi’l-Badi‘ati’n-Nafi‘a. (Tr.)
    10. Abu Al-Fida, ‘Imadu’d-Din Isma‘il ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathir was a famous scholar (1301–1373). He was born in 1301 in Busra, Syria, and studied Islamic jurisprudence, Hadith, Qur’anic commentary, and history. He died in Damascus. Among his famous works are his commentary on the Qur’an known as Tafsiru Ibn Kathir, and al-Bidaya wa’n-Nihaya. (Tr.)
    11. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husayn  al-Bayhaqi, known as Imam Al-Bayhaqi (994–1066) was born Khurasan. He was a famous Hadith scholar. He was also an expert in Islamic jurisprudence. Among his most well-known books are as-Sunanu’l-Kubra, commonly known as Sunanu’l-Bayhaqi, al-Mabsut, Dala’ilu’n-Nubuwwa and al-As­ma’ wa’s-Sifat. (Tr.)
    12. ‘Abdu’l-Qadir al-Jilani (d., 1166): One of the most celebrated Sufi masters. A student of jurisprudence and Hadith, he became known as the “Spiritual Pole” of his age and the “Greatest Means of Divine Help.” Among his well-known books are Kitabu’l-Ghunya, Futuhu’l-Ghayb, and Al-Fathu’r-Rabbani. (Tr.)
    13. 100 Ahmad ibn Ahmad Zarruq (1442–1493) was a Muslim scholar and Shadhili Sufi from Morocco. He traveled and studied is Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Cairo and Hejaz. He studied Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence, and language. Among his famous works are Qawa’idu’t-Tasawwuf, I‘tina’u’l-Fawaid, and Sharhu’l-Haqa’iq wa’d-Daqa’iq. (Tr.)
    14. Abdu’l-Karim ibn Hawazin al-Qushayri (986–1074) was a Muslim Sufi scholar and master. He also studied Islamic jurisprudence, Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, and theology. His major works are ar-Risala (“The Treatise on Sufism”) and Lata’ifu’l-Isharat. His Risala has had great influence on Sunni Sufism and Sufis. (Tr.)
    15. Suat Yıldırım (1941–) is a contemporary Turkish scholar. He was born in Diyarbakır, a province in south-east Turkey, and studied in Theology School affiliated with Ankara University. He worked as a mufti and then specialized in Qur’anic commentary. He taught in different theology schools. Among his well-known works are Kur’an’da Uluhiyet (“Divinity in the Qur’an”) and Peygamberimizin Kur’an’ı Tefsiri (“Interpretation of the Qur’an by Our Prophet”). (Tr.)
    16. Ziya Pasha (1825–1880) was one of the influential political and literary figures of the 19th century Ottoman Turkey. He published Hurriya (Freedom) newspaper. (Tr.)
    17. Yunus Emre (1240–1320). One of the most famous Sufi folk poets who have made a great impact on the Muslim-Turkish culture. His philosophy, metaphysics and humanism have been examined in various symposiums and conferences on a regular basis both in Turkey and abroad. (Tr.)
    18. Imam Malik, al-Muwatta’, “Jana’iz” 17; Ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, 1:452. 106 al-Bukhari, “Shurut” 18; Muslim, “Dhikr” 5; at-Tirmidhi, “Da‘awat” 82.

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