Today’s reminder is about the attributes of Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, believing in Allah SWT names or attributes as they are sometimes called, is one of the parts of believing in the oneness of Allah SWT.
In fact, it is said that you cannot worship Allah SWT fully unless this concept is understood fully.
The meaning of believing in the names or attributes of Allah SWT is to confirm what has been revealed to us by Allah SWT through the glorious Quran or through the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed SAWS. It also means that we discount any attributes that contradict these that have been revealed and it means to keep their meanings unaltered and avoid explaining them incorrectly or worse still, denying their existence.
We have introduced this topic in other reminders before but to recap, the 99 attributes or names of Allah SWT are given to us for a reason. The reason behind this is so that we are able to formulate an accurate and precise understanding of Allah SWT.
As magnificent as the name Allah SWT is, without these 99 attributes of Allah SWT, we would not be able to benefit from knowing that he is also the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Overseer and the Superior just to name a few.
And one of the exercises that was mentioned in a previous reminder was to ask ourselves, how many of us can list 99 attributes about ourselves? After all, no creation knows us better than we know ourselves and yet most of us would struggle with just half that number of attributes about ourselves.
Allah SWT therefore provides us with a comprehensive means to understanding who our Creator actually is. By looking into each and every attribute, both individually and then as a collective, we are able to comprehend the true magnificence of our Creator.
The imam reminded us of a hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:
Allah has 99 names, i.e. one-hundred minus one and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.
Dear brothers and sisters, we can interpret this as literal and therefore all we need to do is to memorize 99 names and voila, we’ve done it in life. Allah SWT is all merciful and we pray that this is enough but scholars state that it is more than just memorizing the names.
In fact, the act of knowing the 99 names is both knowing the name and understanding its meaning in relation to us.
For example, we know that Al-Rahman is a name or attribute of Allah SWT. But the deep spiritual connection with this name comes from understanding the translation behind the name and the rich meaning of the word according to the scholars of Islam.
The same goes for the other names or attributes. True memorization and understanding of the names means that we talk to Allah SWT with those names.
The imam reminded us of the following passage from the Quran. Sura Al-Araf, ayat 180 is translated to say:
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave the company of those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are encouraged by Allah SWT to call upon Him with his names or attributes. All of us have desires, wants or worries. All of us, when sincerely in dua or supplication are asking of Him. Why not follow the Sunnah and use the correct attribute associated with what you are asking Him of?
The imam reminded us of the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS would say the following dua when a matter distressed him:
“O Living, O Self-Sustaining Sustainer, In your mercy I do seek relief”
Dear brothers and sisters, if you look at this, the translation does not begin with O Allah. This is because the Prophet SAWS, in this action, is teaching us the best of lessons in that He SAWS is calling Allah SWT in relation to what is being requested of Him.
We need to also follow in the footsteps of the best of creation SAWS, and get into the practice of using the correct attributes for the requests we make in dua or supplication.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are aware of the blessing of supplication and we are aware of the need to know Allah SWT and His attributes. Lets use todays reminder and the forthcoming month of Ramadan to put this lesson into our action plan in the holy month coming up.
Just studying and memorizing 4 names a day will have us accomplishing this task with nearly a week to spare. Just imagine the depth from which you will be able to communicate with your Creator by investigating a small amount of time and effort into an already blessed month. And by doing so, we can aim to be of those who are promised Paradise for this blessed achievement.