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Religious Studies

Islam: beliefs about God

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The 99 names of Allah; the ‘Most Beautiful Names’

Many different names are used to describe Allah [Allah: The Islamic name for God in the Arabic language ] in the Qur’an [Qur'an: That which is read or recited. The Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah's final revelation to humankind. ] and the Hadith (a collection of authenticated reports of what Prophet Muhammad [Muhammad: The name of the final Prophet. ] said, did or approved). These are sometimes referred to as ‘the 99 names of Allah’, although more than this number of names can be found.

Abu Huraira reported the Prophet Muhammad as saying:

There are 99 names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into paradise.

Muslim Hadith, Book 035, Number 6475

Prayer carpet with the 99 names of Allah

Prayer carpet with the 99 names of Allah

Allah cannot be described by any or all of these names but they help Muslims to think about Allah’s unknowable nature.

Many Muslims recite the names as one of the forms of dhikr (remembrance) to develop their awareness of Allah. Some Muslims use prayer beads (subha) to help them remember as they recite.

Some examples of the 99 names:

  • Al-Rahman, the All-beneficent (the Compassionate)
  • Al-Rahim, the Most Merciful
  • Al-Aziz, the Almighty (the Victorious)
  • Al-Hakam, the Judge

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