The grand name of Allah – Ism Allahi al-A’dham

02Sep12

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Quran,


وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا

“And to Allah belongs the most beautiful names, so call on Him by them.” [7:180]

In sha Allah, I hope to have a series on my blog covering the names of Allah. It will come straight from An-Nahj al-Ismiyy fi sharh asma’i Allahi al-husna by Muhammad Mahmud an-Najdi. The book is in Arabic, and there is no translation that I know of, so I will do my best to translate/paraphrase it.

To start off with a hadith, the Prophet (S) heard a man saying,

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنِّي أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ أَنْتَ اللَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ ، الأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ الَّذِي لَمْ تَلِدْ ، وَلَمْ تُولَدْ ، ولَمْ يَكُنْ لَكَ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

O Allah, I ask you by my belief that You are Allah, none is worthy of worship except you, Al-Ahad (the One), Al-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need), Who begets not nor was He begotten, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.
So the Prophet (S) replied, By Him in whose hand is my soul, he (this man) has beseeched Allah with His grand name, the one that whenever He is asked by He responds, and whenever He is petitioned by, He gives. [Tirmidhi]

Second is the hadith of Anas (R) who said, “I was sitting with The Prophet (S) in the masjid, and a man who was praying said,

اللهم إني أسألك بأن لك الحمد لا إله إلا أنت الحنان المنان بديع السماوات والأرض يا ذا الجلال والإكرام يا حي يا قيوم

O Allah, I ask You by virtue of the fact that praise is due to You, there is no object worthy of worship but You, The Benefactor, The Originator of the heavens and the earth, O Lord of Majesty and Splendor, O Living One, O Eternal One.
Then the Prophet (S) said, He has supplicated to Allah using His Greatest Name, when supplicated by this name, He answers, and when asked by this name He gives. [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and others]

Third, The Prophet (S) said, the grand name of Allah is in three surahs of the Quran: al-Baqarah, Aali Imran, and Taha. [ibn Majah]

One person said that this means that the grand name is al-Hayy al-Qayyum because of the following ayat:
ayat ul-kursi in al-Baqarah (2:255): اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ
ayah 2 in Aali Imran: الله لا إله إلا هو الحي القيوم
ayah 111 in Taha: وَعَنَتِ الْوُجُوهُ لِلْحَيِّ الْقَيُّومِ ۖ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ حَمَلَ ظُلْمًا

However, the author notes that the name which is repeated in all of the hadiths is Allah. As for the ayahs in the above mentioned surahs, the name ‘Allah’ occurs in ayat ul-kursi and ayah 2 in Aali Imran. As for the ayah in TaHa, he says that as at-Tahawi mentioned, perhaps the person made a mistake and the ayah from TaHa is actually ayah 8: اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ

(The author goes on to talk about why ‘Allah’ is the grand name, but it is slightly difficult to translate for me and too detailed, so please see the book (around p. 67) or one of the below links for more information.)

Then he mentions the following, which will not be covered in this post but has already been covered by others:
– Raazi’s evidences for why Allah is the grand name (not covered below, I may come back to this later and cover it in a separate post), p. 68
– Is the name of Allah mushtaqq (derived) or jamid?
– The origin of the word Allah in language, p. 71

- the four opinions of the meaning of lafdh ul-jalalah
the name Allah and evidence supporting the fact that ‘Allah’ is the grand name، the most beloved names to Allah, and some ahadith
If you know of any other blog posts/websites or have any notes concerning this topic, feel free to share them with me as I don’t want this to be a repeat of some other site.

Next up is ar-Rahman and ar-Raheem. Until then, try memorizing the duas mentioned in the hadith and think of these points when making dua to Allah.

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