THE SECOND PRINCIPLE: The Names
of Allaah are both Names/Identities and also Descriptions.
What this actually means is that
when we have a Name of Allaah. It actually consists of:
1. A Name, or something which acts
as an identifier. Just like a person may have a name such as Zaid, or Khaalid or whatever.
So we know that this person is known by this name. And if we were to say Zaid
everyone would know who we are referring to.
2. The quality or characteristic it
indicates or gives evidence to.
To illustrate, if we take the name
Al-Aleem (All-Knowing), we know from this that Allaah has the title or name of
al-Aleem firstly, and secondly that He must therefore have the quality or
characteristic of knowledge.
al-Baseer, (All-Seeing)we know from this that Allaah has the title or name of
al-Baseer firstly and that He must therefore have the quality of
And the same goes for all of the
Names of Allaah. They are names firstly, AND they indicate certain qualities or
This shows that all the names of
Allaah are similar in the sense that they refer back to Allaah, but they are different in
the sense that they each carry a different meaning. To explain what this last sentence
means. If I said: al-Aleem, al-Azeez, al-Qawiyy (The
All-knowing, The Mighty, the Strong), then all of them refer back to Allaah, so they all
refer to one thing. The essence of Allaah. However they all carry different meanings. So
the meaning of al-Aleem is not the same as that of al-Azeez and so
on for all of the other names.
To show this further, we know that
the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had different names. Messenger of Allaah, Abul-Qaasim, Muhammad, Ameen
(trustworthy) etc.. So if I said to you, Abul-Qaasim, you know I am referring
to Muhammad. If I said to you Messenger of Allaah, you know I am referring to
Muhammad, if I said to you Ameen you know I am referring back to Muhammad. So
in this sense the different names and titles all refer back to the same person. However,
they all carry different meanings because they give evidence to different qualities or
So Allaah is called al-Aleem
(All-Knowing) and He has the characteristic of knowledge
Allaah is called al-Hakeem
(All-Wise) and He has the characteristic of wisdom.
Allaah is called al-Ghafoor
(All-Forgiving) and He has the characteristic of forgiving.
Allaah is as-Samee (All-Seeing)and
He has the characteristic of hearing.
And the same for all of the Names of
Allaah. They are 1)Names firstly and 2) they give evidence to the attributes or qualities
NOTE: For the creation, they might be given a name
but they might not necessarily have the quality that it indicates. For example
someone might be called Saadiq (truthful), yet he could be a liar,
or someone might be called Ameen (trustworthy) yet he might not be
trustworthy, or someone could be called Raheem (merciful) yet he
could be really harsh and mean. So for humans, they can be called by a name, but
they do not necessarily have the quality which the name indicates.
As for Allaah, then He is called by
His Names because He has the qualities that they indicate in a most perfect and complete
way, with no deficiency whatsoever. So Allaahs actions arise from His Perfect Names
and Attributes. He forgives because is the All-Forgiving and He has the quality of
forgiveness. With the creation however, we give them names based upon their actions. What
this means that we can only call someone truthful if he really is truthful. We
can only call someone generous if his actions prove that he is generous. So
people receive these titles and descriptions when they prove in their actions that they
have these qualities. So the perfection of people lies in their actions. However, for
Allaah, His actions come from His Perfection, from His Names. In other words it is the
other way around.
NOTE: The people of Bidah argue that because
we affirm lots of attributes of Allaah we have claimed that there are lots of
gods. This argument is so ridiculous it is not even worth discussing.