"...to Him belong the best names."
Say, "Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call - to Him belong the best names." And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way.
Childhood, teenage years or youth are the most active days of learning for most of us. What we learn during these years is often remembered the whole life through. I remember that during these very years I happened to come across an attractive poster of the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah hung on the wall of our hallway. Walking past it, I used to stop and try to recite those names in Arabic. I knew very little Arabic back then so I struggled a bit and tried to pronounce each name and challenged myself to read the whole list till the end.
There are many names and attributes of Allah, the one and only God which we worship as Muslims in Islam. Some of His Names and Attributes are mentioned in the Quran at various places and other names can be found in the sayings of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, peace be upon him.
It will not be correct to say that Allah has only a limited and countable names or attributes as He is All-Encompassing and All-Powerful.
As the servants of Allah have only limited knowledge of His Names and Attributes and in the light of the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, these names have been collected and listed for the convenience.
It is highly recommended to invoke Allah through these names and to learn them by heart to have the knowledge of the Creator, Allah and all His Attributes. This is done in order to know our Creator well so that we develop His consciousness, fear, hope and have firm faith in Him.
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
Suppose we are greatly overwhelmed by the burden of our difficulties and want to invoke Allah for help. We can call upon Him by His Beautiful Names like
An Naseer (The Helper), Al Wakil (The Trustee), Al Mujeeb (The answerer of prayers) etc.
I knew about one saying of the Prophet peace be upon him, which stated that if one learns the names of Allah, he or she would enter Paradise!
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise
Sahih al-Bukhari 2736
I was very fascinated by this Hadith but I wondered how come just memorising them would lead one to Jannah or Paradise?!
One day, as usual when I was standing and reciting those names in Arabic, my father saw me. He encouraged me to learn the names by heart by taking 10 each day. At first I was apprehensive as to whether I would be able to memorise all the names but slowly I started taking down 10 names each week on a small notepad and trying to learn them by heart.
By the Grace of Ar Rehman, I was able to learn the whole list (99 names) in just a few months (approx. 3-4 months).
But the thing is, I came to realize why learning and keeping the names to your memory was given so much importance! Why Allah mentioned invoking Him through these names and attributes?
I came to understand that merely memorizing was not what was expected rather the effect of those names was left on my heart forever.
I could feel the Mercy in the Name Ar Rahman,
I could feel the love in the Name Al Wudud,
I could realize what intensity Al Qahhaar had
and all the Names and Attributes were really a beautiful collection of Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Power etc.
To this day, even after so many years, I feel as if I have a treasure in my heart, safe by His Will and Mercy, to which I can turn to whenever I feel burdened by sorrow or difficulties.
He always listens as He is As Samee,
He always answers as He is Al Mujeeb.
We just need to call Him and invoke Him by His beautiful Names and attributes and feel His Mercy.
Dear readers, Muslim or not, try to read the meanings of these names and see what qualities the Creator has. Let us try to know our Creator better and learn to love Him more by knowing about Him.
Below is the link where you can find the English Meanings of the Names of Allah: