Names of God in the Qur'an

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The 99 Names of Allah, (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنىʾasmāʾ allāh al-ḥusnā), are the Names of God (specifically, attributes) by which Muslims regard God and which are traditionally maintained as described in the Qur'an, and Sunnah, amongst other places.[1] There is, according to hadith, a special group of 99 names but no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the Names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed 99 in the Qur'an and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud some of the names of God have been hidden from mankind[2], therefore there are not only 99 names of God but there are more.

Contents

Origin

According to Islamic tradition,[3] Muhammad is said to have invoked God by a number of Names. According to a Sunni hadith, Sahih Muslim:

Over time it became custom to recite a list of 99 Names, compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim as an addendum to the hadith.

Mahmoud Abdel-Razek (2005) compiled an alternative list, endorsing only 69 from the list of al-Walid.[5]

The Qur'an refers to the Attributes of God as God's "most beautiful Names" (Arabic: al-ʾasmāʾ al-ḥusnā) (see the following sura, Al-A'raf 7:180, Al-Isra 17:110, Ta-Ha 20:8, Al-Hashr 59:24). According to Gerhard Böwering,

Islamic theology makes a distinction between the Attributes of God and the Divine Essence.[6]

The list of "99 Names of God" has a parallel in the Zoroastrian 101 Names of God.[7] Parsi tradition expanded this to a list of "1001 names of God".[8]

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