The Beautiful Names of Allah
Allah has ninety-nine names, one-hundred less one; and he who believes in their meanings and acts accordingly will enter Paradise.
In September 2019, I was blessed with the most prestigious award I have ever received. I never got a degree - I got married at 18 and promptly quit uni after failing my first-year BSc Computation exams after attending my... err... wedding. And I never got many other qualifications to be personally proud of, I never went to an Islamic country and studied with the scholars like so many of my peers did... I was busy having babies. I had 3 little boys under 5 by the age of 23. Alhamdulillah.
Yet, fast forward about 20 years, I met the teachers who I would connect with deeply and follow around, venue after venue, to listen to what they had to say and learn. I would sit in the front row, right in front of them. If I couldn't be in the first row of the prayer, (due to women sitting at the back) I was going to fight for the first row to be in front of my teachers, and try to beat everyone else to it!
Over the course of about 12 months, I attended Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael's lessons on the Divine Names. And when he asked who was going to learn them off by heart, I found my hand raised in the air thinking to myself, 'you can do this; if you never did anything else, this is what you will do!' And Alhamdulillah, by the love and mercy of Al Wadud and Ar Rahim, I did it! The first time I sat in front of Shaykh Sulayman to recite them, my mind went blank and I forgot everything! I could have kicked myself. I did know them, honest!
Then the second time around, I asked a lovely sister to sit by me for moral support and told Shaykh Sulayman I was afraid I would forget again, and he reassured me I wouldn't, and I didn't! I did it!
Here's the playlist of the approximate 40 classes I attended at both Ashford and Staines Community Centre and Karima Foundation:
Called by a Nasheed
I will never forget the time I went to the Living Islam Festival, and we were in the Big Tent. The evening performance had finished, and the night programme was over. People got up to leave, and as I sat there, people walking past me, the massive screen darkened and there started to play on the big booming speakers the most melodious angelic voices reciting Allah's name, Ya Allah, Ya Allah..... and as I stared at the blank screen, I started hearing one beautiful Divine Name (with its meaning) after the next, recited so beautifully with so much love. As people poured out of the Big Tent, tears poured out of my eyes. I felt like there was just me, the Big Tent, and the big screen, and everything else melted away. That day, those names called out to me in such a beckoning way... who knew that years later I would memorise that very nasheed and be given an isnad, a formal chain and connection to have memorized and recited Allah's names to my teacher, who recited them to his teacher, who recited them to his teacher all the way back to the beloved companion Abu Hurayrah, who recited them to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, who recited them to the Arch Angel Gabriel, upon him be peace, who received them from Allah. Ahhhhhh........
Here's the video that took me away with it (maximise the video, turn off the light and put up the volume):
Here's a pdf of Allah's beautiful names that I've arranged in the same sequence as the nasheed - perhaps you can learn them this way too, with Allah's permission:
Now, I use the beautiful names of Allah during my daily journaling. I wake up and do my mornings pages - journalling three a4 sides. And on my final page, I pick a card from my Divine Names Contemplation Cards and see which of Allah's names I have been blessed to pick that day, and how I can connect with Him through that name.
Explanation of the Names
If I need more clarification on what a particular name means, then I have my favourite trusted books at hand to give me a deeper explanation. Here are the books (and a website) that I love:
- Al-Ghazali on the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God
- Allah - An explanation of the Divine Names and Attributes by Ahmad Ibn 'Ajiba al-Hasani
- 99 Names of Allah Guided Journal
- Wahid ud Din's Website, in Alphabetical order
A Part of My Daily Life
I recite the Beautiful Names of Allah whenever I feel love, or want something, calling upon Allah with all His beautiful names and attributes, focusing on the meaning of each name as I recite them.
The Names of Allah are now a big part of Cherished Muslimah - I have chosen 12 names for each of the 12 habits, to help myself and others to connect with Allah in all areas of our lives - be that in our leadership arena, or in the area of love, the realm of justice or the ethereal world of wisdom. You can find them in The Four Traits of a Cherished Muslimah Workbook.
Connecting with Allah's Beautiful Names
Start connecting with Allah's names today - and see which ones you can bring into your own life and which ones you can submit to. Use Allah's names as your personal keys to success - by calling upon Him with those names, or by supplicating to Him through those names.
You have the keys, He's given them to you!
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