Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names. (Surat Ta Ha 20:8)
Abu Huraira (RA) reported Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as saying: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” (Muslim)
Allah is the owner of all qualities, and wants us to worship Him. In terms of memorizing His divine names, He would like us to truly know of His attributes – which means to understand, comprehend and inculcate them, so that we can personalize our relationship with Him at all times of our lives. The purpose of understanding the names of Allah is for us to understand Him through His characteristics and from there, how to personalize our relationship with Him in every aspect of our lives.
Allah created us as human beings of various nationalities, abilities and wealth. Our diverse abilities are a trial for us, and the lucky one understands this journey and tries to get closer to Allah by enumerating His names. This is done by gaining the knowledge of Allah and getting closer to Him, and then by striving the best we can to live the message of Islam through His divine names.
Allah asks us to remember Him in abundance and to call Him with His names. To learn the names of Allah is a completion of our own iman, because His characteristics contain the all encompassing knowledge we need to complete and perfect our worship to Him.
Ibn Qaymah said that one is not a believer unless he has steadfastness in Allah through his belief, knowledge and actions.
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. (Surat Al-A’raf 7:180)
There is a reason that Allah asks us to call Him with His names when making du’a. In Arabic, the word du’a has multiple connotations: to ask, call, plead, and admit that we need support. Before we call out to someone for help, we need to know who you are calling to, the quality of whoever we are calling for and the ability of who we are calling out to.
There are numerous ahadeeth which emphasize the importance of du’a. It is an acknowledgement of our desperation and belonging to Allah and an indication of respect for Allah. The du’a to Allah is the ultimate acknowledgement of being a needy and humble beggar to Allah.
Imam Al Qurtubi reminded us that no one will leave this life without undergoing a trial. Everyone has different mishaps and obstacles in life. The rich are not spared, and they also have challenges where their money cannot help.
The danger is when Allah gives us money, beauty, intelligence, a good life and so on, we trivialize or become arrogant with His gifts to us. On the other hand, if there is a deficit and Allah withholds something from us, we become envious, jealous, discontented and start complaining. Any surplus or deficiency in life is a trial to test the sincerity of our faith. Each trial contains different elements of the names of Allah.
If you understand and live out the names of Allah, it will eradicate many of your spiritual diseases. If your way of life and belief lacks any component of the name of Allah, the diseases will reoccur. Every aspect we imagine and yearn for in life, or need protection from, or need help with, are contained within the names of Allah. Not a second of our lives passes by without the names of Allah or the need of Allah.
If we live one moment without Allah, we either mistakenly believe that we are self-sufficient and do not need Allah, or, significantly worse, we get upset about what we do not have. Both of them are symptomatic of lack of iman, and an indicator of denial, kufr and association with Allah.
The ummah has drifted far from the original message of Islam. The rich want to get richer, become greedy, and get hungrier for accumulation. Those lacking and needy are supposed to be patient to Allah. The norm now is that the rich don’t give and the poor are impatient. When the rich give, they give sparingly. When the poor practice patience to Allah, it is also in a limited amounts.
Whether rich or poor, what Allah ordains is a trial for him and he will be accountable on the Day of Judgment for his reactions.
If you are rich, thank Allah, show gratitude, spend of what ability Allah grants you. If you are poor, make du’a for the rich to change their ways before it’s too late for them. Don’t view a stingy person as rich, because the rich in the kingdom of Allah are those who spend in His cause. A wealthy but stingy person is truly in poverty. They are selfish, greedy, do not want to share what Allah gives them, and deny the rights of others over them. All this is caused by the lack of faith and remembrance of Allah.
Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allah – but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is the Free of need, while you are the needy … (Surat Muhammad 47:38)
Most importantly, do not look at the rich to be your providers – the only Provider is Allah (Ar-Razzaq) through the tools and people He chooses.
If you are ill, ask Allah to cure you. If you are healthy, thank Allah for your health and mobilize your abilities for the benefit of others. If you constantly do good deeds, don’t be judgmental and arrogant to those who don’t.
Being safe in the knowledge that Allah is the provider and owner will make you able to handle every situation. This in turn makes you beloved to Allah, causes Allah to love you and causes you to love Allah in return.
Allah reminds us:
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. (Al Baqarah2:186)
Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember. (An Naml 27:62)
Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Allah, Blessed is He and Most High, said: ‘O son of Adam! Verily as long as you called upon Me and hoped in Me, I forgave you, despite whatever may have occurred from you, and I did not mind. O son of Adam! Were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky, then you sought forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you, and I would not mind. So son of Adam! If you came to me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you met Me not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with forgiveness nearly as great as it.’” (Tirmidhi)