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Reciting the Most Beautiful Names of Allah

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked the proper way to make remembrance or dhikr of the Name of Allah, Al Latif, and the benefits thereof.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I was wondering about the difference in reciting the names of Allah Most High using the different forms. For example is there a difference if I recite “Al Wadood” or “Ya Wadood.”

The reason I ask this is that I have read that reciting the Name “Al Latif” wards off bad things, but reciting “Ya Latif” brings good things. I wondered whether this is specially for the name of Allah, Al Latif, or if something like this is applicable for other names too.

Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I could not find any reference to the difference between calling upon Allah Most High through any of the Divine Names, with the preceding “Ya” or “Al” such as in your examples “Ya Wudud” and “Al Wudud.”

Nor could I find any specific reference to the different outcomes mentioned between the specific formulas of “Al Latif” and “Ya Latif,” though spiritual masters have stated that the recitation of “Ya Latif” protects the people and the place that this Divine Name is recited in from hardships and afflictions. (The Shadhili Tariqa)

Al Latif

The Divine Name ‘Al Latif’ carries the meaning of the ‘One who is most subtle, gracious, kind and gentle’. It also denotes a Being that is so sublime that He is beyond human comprehension. Because He is the Sublime, the Most Subtle, He (alone) encompasses and reveals the subtleties of all things.

Al Latif is the Divine Name. When one calls out Ya Latif, O Subtle, Gentle Gracious One, in accordance to rules of Arabic grammar, the definite article “al” (meaning “The”) drops from the noun when the “calling” prefix (al munada) “Ya” is employed. Thus, essentially one is still saying “Ya al Latif,” but to say it as such is grammatically incorrect.

This applies to all the Divine Names.

You may also find the following answer helpful:

Is it Possible to Do a Wird Without Having Access to a Shaykh?

And Allah knows best.

Warmest salams,
Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Knowing Allah Through His Beautiful Names, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explained how to know Allah, increase in faith, and become better people through knowing, understanding, and living the meanings of Allah’s 99 Names. This interactive, engaging lesson was delivered in London, England, to young students at the SMS – Supplementary Muslim School (run by the An-Nisa Society), during a December 2016 SeekersHub Global trip.

Resources on the Names of Allah

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Do I Need a Proof to Recite the 99 Names and the Throne Verse in a Specific Manner?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is it a bad innovation to recite the 99 names of Allah,to recite a name of Allah for a fixed number or to recite the verse of the Throne after every obligatory prayer?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaykum,

I hope you are well.

General Principle

One does not need a specific proof to recite verses, supplications, invocations, or litanies, for which a general proof already exists.

That is, it has already been established by means of general proofs, found in the Qur’an and Prophetic practice, that certain actions – reciting the Qur’an, supplicating to Allah, invoking Him, reciting his beautiful names – are praiseworthy and incur benefit and reward.

Because of this, one does not need a further proof to allow him to choose a specific time, manner, or method by which he goes about accomplishing this.

This has been understood as a general principle; ibn ‘Allān, the 11th C Shafiʿi, records that the 7th C Shafiʿi Sultan of Scholars, Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, argued that if something is already a sunnah, doing it consistently at specific times only does not remove it from its default ruling, that of being a sunnah action.

Examples of this in Practice

In practice, this rule is known implicitly through our scholarly literature, which contains numerous instances of scholars trying out specific litanies, finding that it has incurred certain benefit in their lives, and then sticking to it as a practice, and encouraging others to do the same.
They then have termed such actions they have adopted ‘tried and tested,’ a designation that would have been superfluous were there to already exist a specific textual evidence for their adopted practice.

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, the 8th C Hanbali and student of Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyya, in his works dealing with spirituality, includes a number of examples of actions he and his teacher engaged in regularly, for which there were no specific proofs.

For example, in his Provisions for the Hereafter, he mentions that he saw that his teacher, ibn Taymiyya, would take a piece of bread or the like from the house when he was leaving it for the Friday prayer to give secretly in charity on the way. He heard his teacher say: If Allah ordered us to offer something in charity before consulting privately with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then giving charity before doing the same with him, the Most High, should be even better and excellent.

In his Ascension of those on the Path, he mentions that something those on the path have tried and found true is the continued repetition of: Yā hayyu yā qayyūm; lā ilāha illā anta [The Living, the Sustainer! There is no God but You!]; whoever does so, it enlivens their heart and mind. He says that his teacher, may God sanctify his spirit, was greatly enamoured with this; he once told him that these two names have a significant impact on the life of the heart, and would intimate that the two in conjunction are God’s greatest name. He also heard him say: Whoever recites for forty days consistently between the Sunnah and Fard prayers of Fajr: Yā hayyu yā qayyūm; lā ilāha illā anta; bi rahmatika astaghīth [The Living, the Sustainer! There is no God but You! By your mercy do I seek your assistance!]; will have his heart enlivened, and it will not die.

None of the adopted actions above enjoy specific proofs, although there are general proofs. For the last supplication cited above, for example, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is reported to have recited this very supplication whenever a matter burdened him [Tirmidhī].

However, there is no proof that establishes the way in which this general proof was carried out and encouraged in specific form above. This did not prevent scholars from doing so, and many such examples are found throughout the scholarly literature.

Exceptions to the Principle

While this is a largely agreed upon general principle, there do come about certain actions that, although conforming to what has been established above, are yet considered disliked or impermissible.

This is often because the actions in question are considered to militate against the spirit of the law or Prophetic practice; lead to other actions or scenarios that are disliked or permissible; are related to clearly ritual acts of worship like prayer; are based upon fabricated traditions; or cause confusion for the general populace, who may come to believe that such an action is a specific Sunnah or even obligatory.

Because these are guidelines that can admit interpretation, scholars often disagree over rulings.

In the Shafiʿi school, for example, choosing to pray voluntary prayers at set times, such as on Friday night, is disliked. The Beloved Prayer, 12 units of prayer performed between Maghrib and Isha, the first Friday of the holy month of Rajab, or performing a hundred units of prayer on the middle night of the month of Shaʿban, are both intensely disliked.

Transmitted Supplications and Invocations

It is generally recommended to ensure that one commits to what has already been transmitted from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

For example, reciting the Throne Verse after every prayer is an established Sunnah. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is reported to have said: Whoever recites the Throne Verse after every prayer will have nothing prevent him from paradise save death [Nasāʾī]; and: Whoever recites the Throne Verse after every prayer will be under God’s protection until the next prayer [Tabarānī].

Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Shuaib Ally

Shaykh Shuaib Ally is a scholar who has recently returned to Toronto after completing his studies overseas. He started his studies by completing his MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto in 2008. He went on to study in a number of Islamic disciplines privately with scholars in Saudi Arabia, including Tafsir, Qur’anic Sciences, Shafi’i law, Usul, Hadith, Hadith Methodology, Grammar and Balagha. Shaykh Shuaib currently resides in Toronto.

Good and Evil – An excerpt from al-Rahman / al-Rahim – Allah’s Most Beautiful Names Explained ~ Imam Ghazali

Al_Rahman_by_samirmalikYou might say: what does it mean for Him, the most high, to be merciful and to be the most merciful of those who are merciful?
For one who is merciful does not see people afflicted or injured, tormented or sick, without hastening to remove that condition when he can do so. But the Lord-praise be to Him most high- has the power to meet every affliction, to stave off every need and distress, to eliminate every sickness and to remove every harm, even though He leaves His servants to be tried by disasters and hardships while the world is overflowing with disease, calamities and tribulations, yet He is able to remove them all.
The merciful one certainly wants good for the one who receives mercy. Yet there is no evil in existence which does not contain some good within it, and were evil to be eliminated, the good within it would be nullified, and the final result  would be an evil worse than the evil containing the good.
The certain amputation of hand* is an evident evil yet within it lies and ample good: the health of a body. If one were to forego the amputation of the hand, the body would perish as a result – a worse evil still. So amputating a hand for the health of a body is an evil which contains good within it. But the primary intention which comes first in the consideration of one amputating is health – an unadulterated good. Yet since amputating the hand is the way to achieve it, amputation is intended for the sake of that good; so health was sought for itself first, and amputation second for the sake of the other and not for itself.
They both enter into the intention, but one of  them is intended for itself and the other for sake of the first, and what is intended for its own sake takes precedence over that which is intended for the sake of the other: here the saying of God- great and glorious – is a propos: ‘My mercy precedes My anger” (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari).
His anger is His intending evil so evil is by His intention, while His mercy is His intending good (so good is by His intention). But if He intended good for the good itself, yet intended evil not for itself but because there is some good within it; then good is accomplished essentially but evil  is accomplished accidentally and each according to divine decree. So nothing here goes against mercy at all.”
Note:
*if it was afflicted with gangrene, for example
Related Materials:
Course: Allah’s Most Beautiful Names Explained
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What is the Meaning of These Names of Allah: Al Hannan and Al Mannan?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalaamu alaikum,
Can you please explain in detail the meaning of the following 2 names of Allah: Al Hannan and Al Mannan?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The Hannan (الحَنَّانُ) is the one who is merciful to His servants.
The Mannan (المَنَّانُ) is the one who is tremendous in giving.
[Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih]
See also: POSTS TAGGED ‘99 NAMES OF ALLAH’
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

What is the Difference Between the Names of Allah al-‘Aziz and al-Qawi?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Can you explain the differences in Al-Aziz and Al-Qawi?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

In short, the Names of Allah Most High, al-Qawi and al-`Aziz, overlap in their meaning. They both relate to Allah’s Power, but the latter has a sense of Transcendence.

Allah Most High says, “It is your Lord who is the Strong, the Mighty One.” [Qur’an, 11.66]

Biqa`i explains that al-Qawi is the one who overcomes everything, and al-`Aziz is the one is able to prevent all other. [Biqa`i, Nazm al-Durar]

The Strong One (al-Qawi)

Ghazali writes in relation to the Name of Allah Most High, al-Qawi: Strength (quwwat) is indicative of perfect power. Inasmuch as Allah Most High has the utmost of power and is perfect therein, He is strong. [Ghazali, al-Maqsad al-Asna]

The Mighty One (al-`Aziz)

And with regards to the Name of Allah Most High, al-`Aziz, the scholars have noted a number of potential meanings. But they ultimately return to the two previously mentioned matters: Power and Transcendence. Qushayri brings up four possible meanings of al-`Aziz. He is the one who is Overwhelming, and cannot be overcome; the one who has no similar or equal; the one who is All-Powerful and Strong; or the one who gives Power or Might. [Qushayri, al-Tahbir fi al-Tadhkir]

I’d highly advise taking the following course: The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah

See also: An Introduction to the Significance of Allah’s Beautiful Names

and: llah’s Names Explained: Al-Aziz – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani with Dr. Umar Abd-Allah

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Video: 5 Types of Divine Forgiveness – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

5 Types of Divine Forgiveness – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

A description of the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of God be upon him), a discussion of the Islamic virtue of hilm and the 5 types of Divine Forgiveness a Muslim can receive from Allah.

To view more of Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa’s lectures visit here

Understanding the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: Al-Muhaymin

Al-Muhaymin means “an overpowering authority”.  Think a parent who sets rules for the child’s best interest. Recall, of course, that Allah is absolutely dissimilar from His creation and yet He Sees and Hears everything. One facet of Allah’s overpowering authority is that He controls the various trusts a human being has been given.

One of the greatest trusts humans have been given is the heart which must be authoritatively guarded for it is the greatest of the human faculties. It is through the heart that one ultimately attains cognizance of Allah.  If one has attained a mastery over their own heart, they should strive to protect other peoples’ hearts if they are given permission by a Sheik to be a guide.  Even if one has not attained this level, they may still help others spiritually by advising towards good and forbidding against evil in ways that are best.  However, among the other faculties that must be controlled are one’s sight, speech, emotions, etc.  Though there is a great amount of flexibility in what is allowed, there is still the comprehensive interest of obedience to Allah.

Beyond ourselves, there are those who we have been given authority over.  Anyone who has children must use their authority to protect them from falling into evil.  People who have employees or have been placed in managerial positions must prevent their subordinates from falling into unscrupulous business practices.  The list goes on.

May Allah allow us to control ourselves and allow us to use the authority we have been given over others in a positive manner.

Allah’s Impoverished Servant,
-Ibraheem Shakfeh

Understanding the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: Al-Mu’min

Al-Mu’min means The Faithful. Being faithful entails being trusted and there is no being worthy of our trust other than Allah.  Allah has made many promises in the Qu’ran and although we might not see the manifestations of these promises immediately, we must believe that Allah will fulfill promises of mercy and ease despite the hardships we face in life. One of the awliya wrote that the highest form of tawakkul is to trust in Allah’s mercy. “And He was Merciful with the believers.” [Quran 33:43].

Having nothing but poverty, the only way we can be faithful to Allah is to acknowledge this state of poverty that He created us in and act based upon it the way He commanded. There is also an inward dimension to this and this entails knowing that it is not our actions have no effect on Allah’s decree and success only comes from Allah. We must not be like Pharaoh who said, “I am your lord most high.” [Quran 79:24]. Rather, we should be like Moses’s mother who threw her baby into the raging river upon receiving the warid. [Quran 28:7] Most believers do not get the warid on a regular basis and have to rely on the messages of the prophets, most notably from the master of messenger, Mohammed, may Allah’s salutations and blessings be upon him. Despite the meteoric plunges we have to take in sacrificing for Allah and His messenger on a day to day basis, we must do so faithfully knowing that, in the end, those who are obedient will be felicitous.

May Allah help is be faithful to Him in ease and hardship and may He multiply our reward for doing such and may He forgive us for our slipping into faithlessness.

Allah Impoverished Servant,
-Ibraheem Shakfeh

Understanding the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: Al-Salam

Al-Salam means “The Flawless” and comes from the same root as “peace” as entities are at peace when they are flawless.

Salam is also derived from the same word as “Islam.” While Islam is often translated as “to submit”, this is not the best translation. Shaykh  Abdul-Hakim Murad writes that Islam does not mean submission, rather, it entails letting go. This is because Islam is to have your heart let go of the flawed dunya. Thus, we must get rid of the dunya that our hearts are attached to so that we may return to Allah so that our hearts are clean on the the day that, “Children and wealth will not benefit, except whoever comes with a sound heart (qalbin salim).” [Quran 26, 88-89].

Salim also comes from the same root word as Al-Salam. When one has this soundness about them, they become a tranquil soul. Allah say to the contended souls, “Oh tranquil soul, return to your Lord pleased and well-pleased.” [Quran 89, 27-28]. Only through purging the heart of the dunya will one be able to truly worship Allah and find tranquility.

May Allah give us success in purging our hearts of other than Him and being true slaves of nothing but Him.

Allah Impoverished Servant,
-Ibraheem Shakfeh