The Most Beautiful Names of God: Allah

By Editorial Staff

Allah is an Arabic proper name which has not ever been used for anyone other than the Almighty Creator.

Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an,

And He is Allah , [the only deity] in the heavens and the earth. (Al-An`am 6:3)

Allah is an Arabic proper name which has not ever been used for anyone other than the Almighty Creator. It has not been narrated in any of the Arabic history or heritage whether before or after Islam that the Name Allah was given to anything or anyone except God, the Creator. The Qur’an also reads in this concern,

Lord of the heavens and of the earth, and of all that is between them; so worship Him, and be constant and patient in His worship: do you know of any who is worthy of the same Name as He? (Maryam 19:65)

The Name Allah refers to the Deity who is worshiped in view of His embracement of all the attributes of divinity and lordship, and is adored by all creatures by means of love and glorification. Almighty Allah has singled out Himself with this Name and distracted people from taking it. All the other Beautiful Names of God can refer to this Name but it does not refer to any Name. In the widely known hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has ninety-nine Names, one-hundred less one; and he who memorized them all by heart will enter Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah is the Greatest Name of God which refers to the God who combines all the Attributes of perfection and characteristics of Glorification, and is far above any attribute of imperfection that does not befit the exaltedness of Divinity and Lordship. All the attributes of glorification, sublimity, magnificence, and omnipotence are most related to the Name Allah than any other Name. Also, the Name Allah includes all merits included in the other Beautiful Names and Attributes of God, such as Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Al-Malik, etc. It is narrated that God has taught His Name Allah to Adam among the names he taught him at the beginning of life. Almighty God says,

And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: “Tell me the names of these if ye are right.” (Al-Baqarah 2:31)

The Name which expresses Divinity and Godhood also involves Lordship in all its meanings and attributes pertaining to God. As the Name Allah means the only true God, He is also the sole Creator, the Omnipotent, the Provider, the Sovereign… The Qur’an reads,

He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Al-Hashr 59:22-24)

The Name Allah in the Qur’an

The Name Allah is numerously repeated in the Qur’an referring to the Almighty God. It is said that it was repeated 2360 times in the Qur’an. Almighty Allah says,

  • [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. (Al-Fatiha 1:2-4)
  • Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. (Aal `Imran 3:2)
  • So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place. (Muhammad 47:19)

The Name Allah in Hadith

  • Abu Hurairah narrated: “One day while Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was sitting with the people, a man came to him walking and said, “O Allah’s Messenger, what is belief?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.” The man asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), what is Islam?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Islam is to worship Allah and not worship anything besides Him, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the (compulsory) charity i.e. Zakat and to fast the month of Ramadan.” The man again asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) what is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or Benevolence)?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you.” (Al-Bukhari)
  • Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said: “One day, I was riding behind the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said, “O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (the Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up”. (At- Tirmidhi)

Reflections on the Name

  • The Name Allah is the most distinguished and ritualistic Name among the Most Beautiful Names so that no other Name can be used in the declaration of faith in Islam, namely “La Ilaha Illa Allah, Muhammad Rasulu Allah” (There is no (true) deity but Allah, and Muhammad in the Messenger of Allah) or in other rituals.
  • Scholars stated that it is the greatest Name of God which one should use while supplicating Allah with full hope that Allah answers one’s supplications.
  • The Name Allah is the most used Name in the phrases of Zikr (remembrance of Allah) such as Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) Al-Hamdulillah (praise be to Allah) and Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest). It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best of the remembrance of Allah is “La ilah illa Allah” (There is no God but Allah).” (At-Tirmidhi)
  • The meanings of all other Beautiful Names of God can be partly shared by people, such as Ar-Rahim (All-Merciful) or Al-`Alim (the All-Knowledgeable). However, only the Name Allah cannot be shared whether partly or in full, explicitly or metaphorically by anyone else.
  • Sheikh Ash-Sha`rwi also said in his exegesis of the Qur’an, “Arabic has a grammatical rule that “Ya” (an interjection) should not be used before any name that has “Al” (a definite article), with the exception of the Name Allah which all people use to address God and supplicate Him. Indeed, this Name is most distinguished even in its grammatical and pronunciation rules.

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