by Raiiq Ridwan
If someone was to ask me about my mother, I would be able to tell them so much about her. I could tell her of what she likes and dislikes. I can tell her of what it is that makes her happy and what makes her angry. I can tell them about her great qualities, and in the qualities in which she needs improvement. In short, I would be able to describe almost every aspect of her to the last letter.
And why is that? It’s because I love her. And a part of loving her, is knowing her well. Part of trying to be a good son is trying to know her well, so that I do that which pleases her, and stay away from that which displeases her.
However, if someone was to ask me who I love the most, I wouldn’t reply “My mother.” I would reply, as most readers of this article would, and say “I love Allah the most.” In fact, the purpose of our life as Muslims has been defined in the Quran quite clearly. Allah says, “I have created the man and the jinn only to worship Me.” [Quran 51:56].
The famous scholar Ibn Taymiyyah said concerning the meaning of “worship” that it is any deed that is pleasing to Allah. The word for an object of worship in the Arabic language is ilah. Ilahcomes from waliha which means that it is an object that is so beloved to us, that we are so much in love with, that we start worshipping it. And thus we say when we enter Islam- la ilaha illa Allah, there is no ilah except Allah.
Part of worship is to love Allah. And to love Allah we need to know Him. In fact the love of Allah is that which gives life to our hearts. Shaykh Saalih al-Munajjid said about the love of Allah,
“Love of Allah is life itself, and to be deprived of it entails a terrible death; it is the light without which one would sail in a sea of darkness; it is the cure without which one’s heart will be overwhelmed by a multitude of diseases; it is the joy without which one will remain in permanent grief; it is the essence of faith and deeds, without which they become like a soulless body”
And in His revealing to us, He has mentioned to us many of His Names. He mentions His names as a way of knowing Him. His names reveal to us about who He is. And thus, knowing His Names, and internalizing them has a great reward. The one who truly knows Allah, will definitely fall in love with Him. And the one falls in love with Him will worship Him sincerely, and the one who worships Him sincerely will enter the ultimate abode of paradise. May Allah make all of us among them.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ““Allah has ninety nine names and whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” [Sahih Muslim] For all of our situations in life, there is a name of Allah that goes along with it. I will end with a few examples
If you are worried that you are failing in your prayers, know that God is Al-Ghaffar, the Perpetually Forgiving. If you feel the deeds you are doing for Him are not up to the mark then know that He is Ash-Shakoor, the Tremendously Appreciative.
If you feel that you have wronged Allah, then know that He is At-Tawwab, the Acceptor of Repentance.
If you feel that life is constricting upon you, know that He is Al-Fattah, the Opener who can open new pathways.
If you see darkness all around you, then know that He is An-Nur, the Light of the Heavens and the Earth, and He is Al-Haadi, the Guide.
The God who brought you this far, will not suddenly let you go into ruin today. He is Al-Aleem, the All-Knowing, and He is Al-Khabeer, the Best Informed. He knows your pain, He sees your tears, and He understands your struggles even when no one does.
Know that God is the best friend you can have. He is Al-Wali, the Guarding Friend, and He is Ar-Ra’uf, Extremely Kind. He is Al-Wadud, the Excessively Loving. He loves you. And He is waiting to hear from you.
Turn your hands up to the sky, knowing that Al-Mujeeb, the Responder is ready to respond. Know that As-Samee’, the Listener is there to listen, and express it all to Him.
And during the good times, remember that it is He who is al-Kareem, the Most Generous, and that all we have in life is a gift from al-Wahhab, the Bestower. All the beautiful things we have in life, all the people and all that we receive of the good comes from ar-Rahman, The Excessively Merciful, ar-Raheem, the Especially Merciful.
Learning the names of Allah will revolutionize our life, our prayers and our worship. Make it part of your mission to learn them, learn their meanings and internalize them. There is no need to learn them all. It is just important to internalize all that has been learned.