Are the Names of Allaah Limited to 99 or Are They Limiteless ? Dr. Saleh As-Saleh [Audio|En]

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Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

Allah has ninety nine names, one hundred minus one; and he who counts them all will enter Al-Jannah (the Garden Of Heaven), and Allah is “witr” (One) and loves the witr (i.e. odd numbers). [Al-Bukhaari, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaai, Ibn Majah]

“Counting” Allah’s ninety nine names means: knowing them, learning them by heart, understanding them, believing in them, good observance towards them, presentation of their boundaries in our dealings with Allah, and supplicating Allah through them. Thus, the hadeeth means that whoever committed those names to memory, contemplated their implications, respected their meanings, conducted himself in accordance with them, sanctified their Owner, such a person will surely be rewarded with the Gardens of Paradise.

There is a consensus among the scholars that Allah’s names are not confined to the number mentioned by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). His sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) statement simply tells us that a Muslim who properly believes in and applies those ninety nine names will surely enter Al-Jannah. It does not negate the existence of other names for the Almighty. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) told us about entering Al-Jannah, not about the total number of Allah’s names.

The proof that there are other names which the Creator did not reveal to us, is the following hadeeth of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): If any Muslim afflicted with distress or grief makes this supplication, his supplication will be accepted: ‘Oh Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant. My forehead is in Your hand. Your command concerning me prevails, and Your decision concerning me is just. I call upon You by every one of the beautiful names by which You have described Yourself, or which You have revealed in Your Book, or have taught any one of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with You, to make the Qur’aan the delight of my heart, the light of my breast, and remove of any grief, sorrows, and afflictions’, Allah will remove one’s affliction and replace it with joy and happiness.” The Companions, then, said; “Do we have to learn these words?” The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Yes, any one who heard them should learn them. [Ahmed, Abu Awaana, Abu Ya’la, Al-Bazzar]

We reiterate the rule that the only names and attributes to be ascribed to Allah are those mentioned in the Qur’aan or in the authentic Sunnah; they are directly communicated to us and are not the products of opinion and interpretation. Allah is to be described only by the attributes with which He had described Himself or with which His Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had described Him. And He is to be named only by the names with which He had named Himself or with which His Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had named Him.