In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Meaning of the Beautiful Name “Allah“
By Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq ibn Abdil-Muhsin al-Badr may Allah preserve him
The shaykh explains this beautiful name in his book, “Fiqhul Asmaail Husnaa”. He says,
Indeed, the foundation of Allah’s Beautiful Names, in which all other meanings of His Names are gathered upon, are three: Allah, ar-Rubb, and ar-Rahman. These three Names contain the rest of Allah’s Names, and all other Names revolve and return back to them. The Name “Allah” comprises attributes regarding His Divinity (Uluhiyyah), the Name “ar-Rubb” comprises attributes regarding His Lordship (Rububiyyah), and the Name “ar-Rahman” comprises attributes regarding His Perfection, Generosity, and Beneficence. The meanings of all of Allah’s Names revolve around these three, and these three Names are gathered in Suratul Faatihah, the Mother of the Qur’an.
Ibn Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said,
“(Suratul Faatihah) describes the Worshiped, may He be blessed and Exalted, through three of His Names; and all the Beautiful Names and Perfect Attributes revolve around these three: Allah, ar-Rubb, and ar-Rahman. This chapter is built upon the pillars of Uluhiyyah, Rububiyyah, and Rahmah. ‘You Alone we worship’, is built upon Uluhiyyah, ‘You Alone we ask for help,’ is built upon Rububiyyah, and asking for guidance to the Straight Path is done through the attribute of Rahmah. Praising, hamd, also encompasses these three matters for He is praised for His Uluhiyyah, His Rububiyyah, and His Mercy.” [Madaarij as-Saalikeen vol. 1 pg. 7]
And the first of these Beautiful Names we will begin with is the Name “Allah”. It is a name, as mentioned by a group from the people of knowledge, to be the greatest Name of Allah. If He is supplicated to by this Name He answers, and if He is asked by it He bestows. This Name has special characteristics which are singled out.
From the special characteristics of this Name is that:
- It is the foundation for all of Allah’s Beautiful Names, and every other Name is attributed and ascribed to it. Allah the Most High said,
وَلِلَّهِ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ فَٱدۡعُوهُ بِہَاۖ
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them…” [Surah al-’Araaf: 180]
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ
“Allah! None has the right to be worshiped but He! To Him belong the Best Names” [Surah Taha: 8]
هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ عَـٰلِمُ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَٱلشَّهَـٰدَةِۖ هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ (٢٢) هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱلۡقُدُّوسُ ٱلسَّلَـٰمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُ ٱلۡمُهَيۡمِنُ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡجَبَّارُ ٱلۡمُتَڪَبِّرُۚ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشۡرِڪُونَ (٢٣) هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡخَـٰلِقُ ٱلۡبَارِئُ ٱلۡمُصَوِّرُۖ لَهُ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ (٢٤)
“He is Allah, beside Whom none has the right to be worshiped but He, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. He is Allah beside Whom is none has the right to be worshiped but He,the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Surah al-Hashr: 22-24]
It is said: “ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, al-Khaaliq, ar-Razzaaq, al-’Azeez, al-Hakim are from the Names of Allah.”
While it is not said: “Allah is from the Names of ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim…” or any other Name.
- The Name “Allah” comprises the meanings of all of His Beautiful Names.
- The Alif and Laam is not dropped when using the particle of calling (Harf Nidaa: for example Yaa). So it is said, “Yaa Allah”. The Alif and Laam is part of the Name. As for the rest of the Names, if there is a particle of calling then the Alif and Laam is dropped. So it is not said, “Yaa ar-Rahman, Yaa ar-Rahim, Yaa al-Khaaliq” rather it is said, “Yaa Rahman, Yaa Rahim, Yaa Khaaliq.”
- The Name Allah is connected to making general adhkaar. The Name Allah is mentioned when saying: Laa ilaha ill Allah, Allahu Akbar, Alhamdulillah. Subhaanallah, Laa Hawla wa laa Quwata illa billah, Hasbunallah, Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon, Bismillah, and other than that.
- This Name is mentioned the most in the Noble Qur’an. It is mentioned more than two thousand and two hundred times. This is not found for any other Name, and Allah began verses with this Name thirty-three times.
al-’Allaamah Ibn Qayyim counted ten characteristics in its physical wording that are specific to it, then he said,
“…as regards its specific characteristics with regards to meaning, the most knowledgeable of creation, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘I cannot enumerate Praise of You, You are as You have praised Yourself.’
How is it possible to enumerate the specifics of a Name, the object of which has every single perfection without restriction, who deserves all commendation and praise, all lauding and veneration, who posses all magnificence and perfection, and all nobility and beauty?
All goodness, beneficence, generosity, grace, and gifts belong to Him and come from Him. This Name is not mentioned over something paltry except that it becomes plentiful, nor at a time of fear except that it removes it, nor at a time of hardship except that it lifts it, nor at a time of distress and worry except that it alleviates it, nor at a time of constraint except that it liberates it.
No weak creature depends upon it except that it grants him strength, nor one undergoing humiliation except it grants him honor, nor one who is poor except that it leads him to richness, nor one who is left alone except that it grants him comfort, nor one who is overcome except that it aids him and supports him, nor one in a state of dire need except that it lifts his need, nor one who is run astray except that it draws him back.
It is the Name through which hardship is removed, through which blessings descend, through which supplications are answered, through which the foot does not slip, through which evil is repressed and good is promoted…” [Tayseer al-’Azeez al-Hameed pg. 30]
The meaning of “Allah”
As for the meaning of this Name then its foundation is “al-ilaah”, and it means the One who is worshiped.
The most comprehensive and best meaning of “Allah” is what has been attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said,
الله ذو الألوهية و العبودية على خلقه أجمعين
“Allah is the Possessor of Divinity and Worship over all creation” [Collected by Ibn Jarir at-Tabari in his Tafseer 1/121]
This explanation combines between two affairs:
First: The description that is attached with this Noble Name. His Divinity is attached to the wording “Allah”, just as knowledge is attached to al-’Aleem, might/power is attached to al-’Azeez, wisdom is attached to al-Hakeem, mercy is attached to al-Rahim, and other attributes which show and are attached to His Essence. Allah is the Possessor of Divinity, and this is a tremendous description which He is deserving of. Rather, none should have a share with this tremendous attribute.
Second: The description that is attached to servitude. The the slaves worship and single Him out only. Allah the Most High said,
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ إِلَـٰهٌ۬ وَفِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَـٰهٌ۬ۚ
“It is He Who is the only God (to be worshiped) in the heaven and the only God (to be worshiped) on the earth…”[Surah az-Zukhruf: 84]
Meaning, the inhabitants of the heaven and earth are subjugated to Him. Everything is submissive to His Greatness, obedient to His Want, Will, and Mightiness. The slaves of ar-Rahman single Him out in worship and exert themselves in worshiping Him through their hearts, spirits, statements, and actions.
Allah combined these two meanings (Divinity and Servitude) in numerous places in the Qur’an like His statement,
إِنَّنِىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدۡنِى وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِذِڪۡرِىٓ
“Verily! I am Allah! None has the right to be worshiped but I, so worship Me, and perform As-Salah for My Remembrance.” [Surah Taha: 14]
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ
“And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): ‘None has the right to be worshiped but I (Allah), so worship Me (Alone and none else).’” [Surah al-Anbiyaa: 25]
and His statement,
فَٱعۡبُدۡهُ وَٱصۡطَبِرۡ لِعِبَـٰدَتِهِۦۚ هَلۡ تَعۡلَمُ لَهُ ۥ سَمِيًّ۬ا
“…so worship Him (Alone) and be constant and patient in His worship.” [Surah Maryam: 65]
Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam
الفقير الى الله