The Many Names of Allah According to the Quran – Part ThreeJanuary 24, 2020 2023-11-26 14:13
The Many Names of Allah According to the Quran – Part Three
The Many Names of Allah According to the Quran – Part Three
Monotheism is the most important aspect of the Islamic faith. It is the very foundation upon which all of the religion’s teachings are built. If one does not believe in a singular God, they cannot possibly consider themselves to be a Muslim, no matter how steadfastly they hold to other pieces of Islamic doctrine. Despite Islam’s belief in a single God, the Quran uses a plethora of names to refer to Him. The most prominent of these names is, of course, Allah. However, most leading Islamic scholars point to an additional 99 names used to refer to Allah throughout the Quran and hadith. In previous articles, we have discussed 50 of these names in detail. This article, the third in our series, will examine an additional 25 Names of Allah according to the Quran in an attempt to provide a definitive compilation and dissection of each. Let’s get started!
51. Ash-Shaheed: The Witness
Although most monotheistic religions differ in terms of their specific views on Allah, they tend to agree on a few key characteristics. One of the most important of these is Allah’s ability to see everything and anything we do. In Islam, just as in Judaism and Christianity, Allah is All-Seeing. The Quran drives home this most amazing quality of Allah by referring to Him as Ash-Shaheed, meaning “The Witness.” You’ll find a number of similar names praising Allah’s perpetual vision in the Quran, but Ash-Shaheed is unique in that it reminds us that Allah will put everything He sees to good use. Just as a witness in a courtroom will defend or condemn the person on trial, Allah will draw on all that He has witnessed to save or chastise all who stand before Him on the Day of Judgment. On that same day, He will be judge and jury.
52. Al-Wakeel: The Trustee
In the days prior to his prophethood, Prophet Muhammadﷺ was one of the most respected men in all of Mecca. Although he didn’t have much, he was admired by almost everybody for his strength of character and reliability. It’s difficult to find an account of the Prophet Muhammadﷺ which does not discuss how dependable and trustworthy he was. It should come as no surprise, then, that Allah chose him to bring the message of the Quran to the people of the world. After all, trustworthiness is one of the defining characteristics of Allah Himself. Several passages of the Quran refer to Him as Al-Wakeel, which translates to “The Trustee” in English. We can all trust in Allah to provide the conditions and materials we need to live, as well as to provide unwaveringly fair judgment when He raises us from the dead.
53. Al-Muhsee: The Enumerating
Al-Muhsee is one of the most unique of all the 99 names of Allah outlined in the Quran. In English, it translates to “The Enumerating,” a word which many native English speakers may not be familiar with. To enumerate is to count the quantity of something. This may seem rather trivial at first, but it is actually quite an important attribute of Allah. He keeps count of all of His creations if He is to provide adequate food and water. Similarly, He keeps a strict and accurate account of the deeds of each man and woman so that He may judge them fairly on the Day of Judgment. With this in mind, the significance of Allah’s duties as Al-Muhsee cannot be overstated.
54. Al-Waliy: The Ally
The early days of Islam were immeasurably tough for Prophet Muhammadﷺ and his followers. Prophet Muhammadﷺ was fighting his own battle as he struggled with settling into his unexpected role as a religious leader. At the same time, he was trying to protect the first Muslims from aggressors in Mecca. Neither Prophet Muhammadﷺ nor his followers would have survived had Allah not been on their side. As the Quran reminds us, however, Allah is Al-Waliy. Translating to “The Ally,” this title describes Allah’s protection of the Prophetﷺ and his earliest followers. It also describes His continual protection for Muslims – and even to the unbelievers – to this day.
55. Al-Hameed: The Praiseworthy
Open any newspaper or visit any entertainment website and you’ll find a plethora of positive reviews for movies, music, television shows, and virtually anything else man has displayed an interest in. In these days of superlatives, reviewers are quick to heap praise upon performers. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, it has, on occasion, caused us to forget to praise Allah. As creator of the universe and all that is in it, Allah is Al-Hameed or “The Praiseworthy.” All great works of man have their roots in Him, as do the sun, the moon, and everything else around us. Nobody is more deserving of acclaim than Allah.
- Al-Mubdi: The Originator
The Quran and the hadith focus so much on the Day of Judgment that it can be easy to get wrapped in the end times and entirely forget about the creation of the universe. For Muslims, it is important to remember that Allah is Al-Mubdi. In English, this translates to “The Originator.” It reminds us that Allah is the creator of the universe itself, just as He is the creator of all that is within it. He is the sole originator of the world and willed it into existence with nobody to make His vision a reality. It is this fact which gives Allah and Allah alone the right to destroy the world when He decides it is time to do so.
57. Al-Mumeet: The Inflictor of Death
In the previous section, we touched on the Quran’s focus on the Day of Judgment. The hadith, as mentioned, also dedicates a great deal of time to discussing this most terrifying day. Let us now take a look at the title Al-Mumeet. Meaning “The Inflictor of Death,” Al-Mumeet is perhaps the most intimidating of all the names of Allah. Its presence in the Quran makes it impossible to forget about Allah’s predestined destruction of the world and everything within it. He has inflicted death upon believers and non-believers alike, showing no discretion. He even took the soul of Muhammadﷺ, His beloved prophet.
58. Al-Mu’id: The Restorer
As horrifying as the thought of Allah enacting His ability as Al-Mumeet can be, Muslims can take solace in His title of Al-Mu’id. This is one of the most important names of Allah as it translates into “The Restorer,” describing the final role Allah will play in the destruction of the world. Once death has been inflicted and our planet torn asunder, Allah will restore life to all. Every man, woman, and child will be raised from the dead to stand before Allah on the Day of Judgment.
59. Al-Mateen: The Firm One
The past couple of names we have examined have denoted a role that Allah is going to play on the Day of Judgment. Al-Mateen is another of them. In English, Al-Mateen can be understood to mean “The Firm One” or “The Steadfast.” It tells us that Allah will be unwavering in His decisions on the Day of Judgment. Those He casts into the Hellfire will not be able to change His mind, no matter how much they plead or beg. According to the Quran, the damned will beg Allah to send them back to Earth so that they may have a second chance at living a moral life. However, the Quran also tells us that Allah will see through these thin promises and remain firm in His ruling. For this reason, it is imperative that non-believers accept the message of the Quran in this lifetime as there will be no time to believe on the Day of Judgment.
60. Al-Waajid: The Perceiver
Allah has powers of perception far beyond what us mortals can even begin to comprehend. He perceives everything that goes on in the world, carefully documenting it for reference on the Day of Judgment. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Quran makes sure to refer to Him as Al-Waajid. In English, this title is commonly translated as “The Perceiver.” However, you may also see it interpreted as “The Finder.” This is an equally important translation as it reminds us that Allah is capable of locating all things, meaning it will be impossible for the unbelievers to hide from Him on the Day of Judgment. Similarly, it is impossible for us to hide our sins from Allah, as He knows, can locate, and perceive the truth and the real motivation behind the things we say and do.
61. Al-Ahad: The One and Only
Many non-Muslims hold the erroneous belief that Muslims worship the Prophet Muhammadﷺ. Though this assumption is obviously incorrect, it is, in some ways, understandable. After all, many other monotheistic religions worship beings other than God. Catholicism, for example, elevates saints, dedicating specific days to pray to each. In reality, Islam teaches that Muhammadﷺ should not be worshiped. While he was undoubtedly an extremely admirable individual, he was a prophet of Allah rather than Allah Himself. Islamic doctrine tells us that Allah has never taken a human form. He is Al-Ahad, meaning “The Only and Only.” He is the one and only being worthy of worship and should not be overlooked in favor of a saint, prophet, or religious leader.
62. Al-Qayyum: The Self-Sufficient
When creating the Earth, Allah made sure to give us everything we need to survive. He gave us plants and animals for food. He gave us rivers and rain for water. He even gave us things like the coffee bean so we can enjoy the little pleasures of life. But although Allah made man in His image, these are not not things that Allah himself needs to survive. The Quran tells us that Allah is Al-Qayyum, which translates into English as “The Self-Sufficient.” He needs neither food nor water to live. Likewise, Allah does not require sleep nor exercising. He is able to do all things in all conditions, as He has always done so and always will do.
63. As-Samad: The Satisfier of Needs
As-Samad is one of the more versatile names used to refer to Allah in the Quran. It boasts two primary English translations. These are “The Eternal” and “The Satisfier of Needs.” As you can see, it is the latter which we have chosen to focus on in this article. There are a number of reasons for this. For starters, “The Eternal” is extremely similar to “The Self-Sufficient,” which we covered in the previous section. Additionally, people are prone to forgetting that Allah is indeed “The Satisfier of Needs.” Even some Muslims are quick to forget this if all of their prayers are not all answered. Of course, answering these prayers is not Allah’s duty. Nor are any of the other luxury items and status symbols we so often covet. To survive, we need plants for food and rivers for water. We need the sun for warmth and the stars to light our way at night. These are all things Allah has provided, thus satisfying our needs and leaving us wanting only that which is trivial.
64. Al-Muqtadir: The Omnipotent
One of the most prevalent views of the singular God is that He is omnipotent. The word “omnipotent” is important here as it is used specifically by almost all major monotheistic religions to describe the immense and unimaginable power of Allah. The Quran utilizes a number of titles in reference to Allah’s might, but Al-Muqtadir is the only one which translates directly to “The Omnipotent.” This makes it a valuable tool in bridging the gap between Islam and other monotheistic religions. It reminds Muslims and non-Muslims that their shared beliefs regarding the nature of God are far stronger than any doctrinal differences they may have.
65. Al-Hayy: The Ever-Living
Many non-believers seek to shake the faith of Muslims by asking them the immensely juvenile question “If Allah made us, who made Allah?” Thankfully, Muslims have the Quran to fall back on in response. In the Quran, you will find a number of passages which refer to Allah as Al-Hayy. In English, this title can be interpreted as “The Ever-Living,” “The Ever-Lasting,” or even “The Undying.” As such, it provides us with a clear answer to the above question: Nobody. Allah does not have a creator for He was not created. He has always existed and will continue to exist long after He has brought an end to our world and the unbelievers who dare to question His origins.
66. Al-Muqaddim: The Expediter
For Allah, time is not an issue, for it is His own creation. Time is mass moving through space, so when Allah created the heavens and mass began to move through space, time began. He does not have to wait for anything or anybody. Should He wish for something to occur immediately, He can make it happen. Should He wish for something to be delayed, He can save its occurrence for a time more pleasing to Him. For this reason, the Quran aptly refers to Him as “Al-Muqaddim.” In English, this translates to “The Expediter,” reminding us that Allah can bring the Day of Judgment upon us at any moment.
67. Al-Aakhir: The Last
Several of the 99 Names of Allah refer to His status as the creator of the universe. They remind us that He was here before any of us or anything we see around us. He was the first. Al-Aakhir, however, refers to an often overlooked role of Allah. Translating to “The Last,” Al-Aakhir tells us that Allah will be the very last being in existence prior to the Day of Judgment. Once He has caused death to all living creatures, He will resurrect every living thing, giving eternal life to those who have earned it and casting those who denied the truth into Hellfire.
68. Al-Baatin: The Hidden One
Allah is omnipresent. But despite the fact that we are in His presence at all times, we cannot ever expect to see Him. As such, the Quran tells us that He is Al-Baatin. This title is often interpreted as meaning “The Imperceptible,” but many Islamic scholars prefer the translation of “The Hidden One.” This is because “The Hidden One” reminds us of an additional aspect of Allah’s elusiveness. Because He Himself is hidden, He knows everything we try to hide. Our deepest secrets and the darkest desires of our hearts are as clear to Allah as the color of the sky.
69. Al-Waali: The Governor
Some of the strangest interpretations of the names of Allah would be Al-Waali. Translating to “The Governor,” many English speakers may be left wondering why we don’t just pretend it translates into a position of higher authority, such as “The President” or “The Prime Minister.” While it’s easy to focus on the apparent absurdity of its English translation, let us not overlook what Al-Waali entails. This title speaks of Allah’s immeasurable power and reminds us that He alone governs the universe. All that is in the Heavens and on the Earth owes its existence to the will of Allah and can be altered by Him at any time.
70. Adh-Dhaahir: The All-Victorious
When Prophet Muhammadﷺ first brought the message of the Quran to the people of Mecca, those who believed Him were subjected to mockery. Over time, this mockery evolved to physical violence. Many of the earliest Muslims were murdered by bloodthirsty idolaters. Thankfully, when Prophet Muhammadﷺ and his followers were permitted to retaliate, they righted these wrongs and claimed Mecca for themselves. Despite attempts to hinder the spread of Islam, the Prophet’s successful conquest of Mecca marked another of countless victories for Allah. To this day, Allah continues to do battle against the unbelievers. Although it may occasionally seem as though the sinners are winning, it is Allah who will ultimately rule the day. This invincibility is why Allah has the title of Adh-Dhaahir, which appropriately translates into “The All-Victorious.”
71. Al-Qadeer: The Capable
As discussed in the previous section, Prophet Muhammadﷺ faced a plethora of challenges when trying to establish Islam in Mecca. Early critics of the religion regularly challenged the Prophetﷺ to perform miraculous acts to prove his prophethood. What the idolaters did not understand, however, was that Prophet Muhammadﷺ did not claim to possess otherworldly abilities. He was not able to perform miracles at will. This power belonged – and continues to belong – to Allah exclusively. He is the only being capable of defying the laws of the universe, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering it is He who set those laws in the first place. In celebration of His incredible ability to do what no mortal being is capable of doing, the Quran declares Allah to be Al-Qadeer, or “The Capable.”
72. Al-Maajid: The Glorified
According to Islamic tradition, Allah creates an army of angels every day who have no task beyond glorifying His name. Their work is complemented by the work of the near two billion Muslims worldwide, who formally praise Allah five times a day. These Muslims, of course, base their very religion on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammadﷺ, both of which remind us of the power and sheer magnificence of Allah. And let’s not forget the billions of non-Muslims who prescribe to monotheistic religious beliefs, such as the Christians and the Jews. With so many people worshiping Him every day, it is no wonder that Allah is described as Al-Maajid, which translates to English as “The Glorified.”
73. Al-Muhyee: The Giver of Life
Throughout the Quran, we are reminded that Allah is Al-Muhyee. In English, this title can be interpreted as “The Giver of Life.” This is the will of Allah from the start of life even before it came to earth. Just as He gave life to Adam in the days following the creation of the universe, Allah gives life to mankind to this day. No child is conceived or born without His divine authority and it will remain this way right up to the final day. On that day, Allah will briefly no longer be give life but bring an end to all life on Earth. Once mankind has been entirely extinguished, Allah will once again be Al-Muhyee by resurrecting all of humankind and giving us life once again.
74. Al-Muta’ali: The Self-Exalted
The Quran is practically overflowing with tales of prophets who brought Allah’s message to the people of the world, with varying degrees of success. All of these prophets, regardless of how effective they were in spreading the message of Allah, were noble, admirable people. This is the very reason Allah chose them to serve him, raising them up and exalting them so that they may be worthy of being His messengers. Like these prophets, Allah Himself is exalted, although He did not have to rely on a higher being to raise Him up. After all, there is no higher being than Allah. There is nobody who possesses the authority to exalt Him, which is why the Quran describes Him as being “The Self-Exalted,” or, officially, Al-Muta’ali.
75. Al-Tawwab: The Pardoning
There are numerous English interpretations of the title Al-Tawwab. These include “The Accepting of Repentance,” “The Guide to Repentance,” and “The Ever-Relenting.” And let us not forget our preferred translation of the title, “The Pardoning.” Thankfully, all of these roads lead to the same conclusion: Allah is always willing to forgive somebody who is truly sorry. As Al-Tawwab, Allah is only too happy to forgive and relent. However, the Quran and the hadith both tell us that repentance must take place prior to the Day of Judgment. If a sinner dies without having sought forgiveness for their hedonistic ways, they will not be pardoned by Allah in the next life. Indeed, while Allah will play many roles on the Day of Judgment, Al-Tawwab will not be one of them.
Check out the second part of our series on the Many Names of Allah here.