Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
Seeking Advancement of Knowledge through Spiritual and Intellectual Growth

International ConferenceAbout IRFIIRFI CommitteesRamadan CalendarQur'anic InspirationsWith Your Help

Articles 1 - 1000 | Articles 1001-2000 | Articles 2001 - 3000 | Articles 3001 - 4000 | Articles 4001 - 5000 | Articles 5001 - 6000 |  All Articles

Family and Children | Hadith | Health | Hijab | Islam and Christianity | Islam and Medicine | Islamic Personalities | Other | Personal Growth | Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) | Qur'an | Ramadan | Science | Social Issues | Women in Islam |

Islamic Articles
Islamic Links
Islamic Cemetery
Islamic Books
Women in Islam
Aalim Newsletter
Date Conversion
Prayer Schedule
Q & A
Contact Info


The Names of Allah in the Quran

By: Professor Maqsood Jafri


Allah is “Ism-e-Zaati” (Personal Name) of God. Besides there are ninety nine “Asma-e-Hasana” (Attributive or Adjective or beautiful) names of Allah mentioned in the Quran.  The Muslim Sufis, scholars and sages have said that Allah is Ism-e-Azam (the Greatest Name).  When we say Allah-o-Akbar it also means no body is great except Allah.  “Allah – the Greatest” is a philosophy.  It is not only an announcement or a slogan.  It teaches us a lesson.  It tells us that we should not bow before any worldly power.  We should only prostrate before God.  This is a commitment to serve and praise Allah.  It negates the concept of tyranny, idolatry, monarchy and adulatory.  No one is equal to Allah.  No one is his partner.  He is neither begotten nor begets.  Allah, God or “Raam” are his names.  Different people in different languages call His name.  The last words uttered by Jesus Christ on altar according to the Bible were “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani;” my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me”. (Mathew27:46)


The attributive names of Allah also depict the positive values and qualities ascribed to Allah.  Though there are ninety nine beautiful names of God in the Quran, only eight attributes are regarded as “safaat-e-Thabutayya” (the Existential Attributes).  They are: Qadeem (The eternal); Qadir (The Omnipotent); Alim (The omniscient); Haiy (The Living); Murid (The Willing); Mudrik (The Comprehending); Mutakalin (The Conversational) and Sadiq (The Truthful).  On the contrary there are also eight attributes which cannot be ascribed to God.  They are : Shirkat (Partnership); Tarkeeb (mixture); Makan (space); Hallol (Incarnation); Mahal-eHawadith (Gradational); Marey (visible); Ihtiaj (Needy); and Sanawiyyat (Duality).    Now let us briefly define these above mentioned existential and non-existential attributes of God.  Eternal means that God was not created.  He is first even to first cause or creation.  He is beyond time.  He has created time and space.  He is omnipotent.  It means that He can do what so ever He wants.  His power is beyond question.  Whether it is through natural laws or miracle He can do what ever He desires.  Omniscient means he is aware of everything.  He knows about our future.  He is All-knowing.  Haiy means he is alive.  Death can never touch or reach him.  He did not come out of nonentity.  He was present when nothing was present.  He wills and things are done.  It is his power of decision.  Whether it is Khalq (creation) or Amr (Immediate creation) he has the power over every object.  He is Mudrik.  It means He is conscious of all objects whether apparent or hidden.  Nothing is hidden from him.  He is Mutakalim.  It means he can talk to anyone through angels or objects.  He spoke to Moses through a tree on the mount of Sanai.  He is Sadiq.  It means he speaks truth.  God is all truth.  His message is truth.  We must believe in above eight existential attributes of Allah.  Then there are eight attributes which cannot be ascribed to Allah. Earlier mentioned those qualities do not suit the image of God.  They negate the positive concept of God.  When we say there can be no “sharik” of Allah it means God is one and we believe in His Oneness.  Tawhid is the antonym of “Shirkat”.  God cannot be ascribed to Tarkeeb.  God is not made of different elements, cells or atoms.  Makan means God cannot be limited to any place or space.  Halool means God does not enter in to anyone’s body.  The concept of incarnation is un-Islamic.  God is not gradational or the outcome of any evolutionary process like other creatures.  A baby is born, then it becomes adolescent; then young; then old and then dies.  Stages are for creation not for creator.  God is invisible.  He cannot be seen with naked eyes.  Marey means if we see God with naked eyes then He becomes our imaginative creation.  Our eyes can not encompass his vision.  The seventh point is of Ihtiaaj.  It means we are needy but God is not needy.  He is free from need. And the last point is about Duality.  God is one, neither two nor more than two.  The universe is one and the creator of the universe is also one.  These eight existential and non-existential attributes cover the basic concept of God.  There are other general attributes of God which are mentioned in the Quran besides the above cited.  Let us mention a few of them in the light of the Quran.  The Quran in Sura The Heights says; “The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them; but shun such men as use profanity in His names; for what they do, they will soon be requited.”(7:180). In Sura the Israelities the Quran about Allah says that He is Samih and Baseer.  The words are: “verify, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing(17:1).  In Sura The Heifer the Quran says: God is (Waseh) All- Pervading and (Aleem) All knowing.” (2:115). Allah is Al-Mujib.  The Quran in sura Hud says: “For my God is (always) near, (ready) responder.”- God is Khabir (well-acquainted).  The Quran says: “For Allah is well aware of all that you do.” (3:153). God is Best of Judges (6:57) – God is bestower of Forms and colors (59:24) God is Al-Hasib (The Reckoner).(4:6).  The Quran time and again mentions that God is Nourisher; God is sustainer and God is Just.  About Allah and his attributes Hazrat Ali in Nehjul Balagha says: “you should not imagine Allah to be a magnified model of yourself.  Your attributes should not be attributed to Him. Neither try to understand His attributes on your standard nor believe them to be on the same level with yours.”  It means we do not possess permanent attributes. They are temporary. Suppose one man can be very intelligent today but tomorrow he can go mad.  One can have sight today but tomorrow he can be blind.  One is young and energetic today but in old age he becomes feeble, frail and frivolous.  But God possess eternal attributes.  What is He today He will be the same forever?  In a saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) we have been asked: “create godly qualities.”  It means God is just we should be just. God is mercy we should be merciful.  God is truth we should speak truth and so on.  Mawlana Rumi writes that when blacksmith puts a piece of iron in blazing coals to mould the iron, its color is black and it is cold.  But when it absorbs the heat of firebrands it becomes red and hot.  Now it can burn us.  Basically it is iron but it has absorbed the attributes of fire.  Now it can act like fire.  Similarly when the sufis and saints get the color of God as mentioned in the Quran they attain spiritual and miraculous powers.  They do not become God but God gives them divine attributes which is the height of human spiritual sublimity.





(The writer is an eminent speaker and scholar on Islam.  He can be reached at


Please report any broken links to Webmaster
Copyright © 1988-2012 All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer

free web tracker