Allah's Names and Attributes

Arabic Calligraphy
Arabic Calligraphy. Fred de Noyelle

The Quran calls upon Muslims to remember Allah, the One True Almighty God, and to call only upon Him for guidance and help. The name 'Allah' is a proper name for the Almighty, used by Muslims as well as Arabic-speaking Christians. The name cannot be made into a plural or alternative form (such as how the word 'God' can be changed to gods, goddesses, god-like, etc.). Allah is a single proper name, but the Almighty also uses other words and names to describe Himself and help us to understand His nature in a more concrete way.

In the Quran, Allah describes Himself to us as the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Loving, the Just. There are dozens of such "names," or attributes, to describe the One True Almighty God in terms that we can understand. In Surah Al-Hashr (59:22-24), the Quran says:

"Allah is He, other than Whom there is no other god.
Who knows all things, both secret and open.
He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Allah is He, other than Whom there is no other god.
The Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Guardian of Faith,
the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the justly Proud.
Glory to Allah! High is He above the partners they attribute to Him.

He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Fashioner.
To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth declare His Praises and Glory.
And He is Exalted in Might, the Wise."

To fully understand the depth and meaning of all of these beautiful names, one really needs to ponder and think about them.

For example, Allah is the All-Hearer (Al-Basir). Think about it - Allah hears everything, from the buzz of a mosquito's wings, to the rustle of the wind. Every conversation spoken, every thought that you keep to yourself. Language is no barrier, for Allah understands all. To truly ponder on the majesty of Allah makes one humble.

This is what Allah calls us to do - to understand Him through His attributes and names, realize His Omnipotence and Majesty, call upon Him, and humble ourselves to Him.

Some Muslims believe that there are 99 different "names" or attributes of Allah that are written in the Quran; however there is no single agreed-upon list as such. For more information on Allah's names and attributes, please see this list of Allah's Names (Asmaa al-Husna).