How To Be Egyptian (HTBE) series: The 99 Names – Intro-
BismiLlah Al Rahman Al Rahim,
After reading Du Pasquier’s introduction, we more or less have an idea now of the current human psychology in the world.
Islam tries to shift that humanist idea into theocentric world view: without God, man would be lost. We are all born with a state of fitra and we all aspire for that sense of Absolute, whether we like it or not. Some people realize that this state should be directed towards God in total submission and some, -I seek refuge in God from it- , live their whole lives filling that state with love for things, humans, conditions, etc. and never being satisfied.
Believing in God erases that sense of nihilism in us that we are just a speck in the wide cosmos, worthless. On the contrary, God says in the Qur’an:
( وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلاًِ )
And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference. (Al Isra’, 70)
Everything in creation reflects one of the Attributes of God. One should contemplate it in order to find out which one it represents. For instance, in plants, the most dominated Attribute would be Al-Razzaq (the Provider), water would be Al Mohyi (The Giver of Life).
What about the Human Being? According to Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, we, humans have in us the 99 Names of Allah. They are manifested in us, it is a special gift. “We are ‘Abd Al Jami’ (the servant of The All Combining).
Because of that we are the Spirit of the Universe, the special piece of Creation.
In order to know who we are and what we are capable of, we need to know what these 99 Attributes mean and represent. For that, we’re going to share some notes taken during “The 99 Names” classes by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf at the 2010 Rihla.
But first… A du’a by Imam Al-Haddad, mentioned in “The Nawawi Project for Ramadan”
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach
to take and give a reminder
take and give benefit
take and give advantage
to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of His Messenger, upon him be peace
and calling to guidance and directing towards good
hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward,
transcended is He.
نويت التعلم والتعليم٬ والتذكر والتذكير, النفع والإنتفاع, الإفادة والاستفادة, والحث على التمسك بكتاب الله٬ وسنة رسوله٬ والدعاء الى الهدى والدلالة على الخير , وابتغاء وجه الله ومرضاته وقربه وثوابه سبحانه وتعالى.
– وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them
(Al A’raf, 180)
-The 99 Names are what the Prophet mentioned. Fakhr al Din al Razi said that every book has a secret and for the Qur’an it’s the Names.
The Name will always relate to the verse.
-We don’t say that God is love, which is a صفة (character) but we say God is Lovingly, which is a اسم (name)
– اسم comes from the root word س م . From it we can derive سماء the sky, heaven. And also وسم which is a علامة or a sign.
Language is a gift from God.
-The Prophet (pbuh) used to name all of his possessions. Part of naming is honoring. The more names it has the greater it is.