Names of God in Islam

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According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى) "Beautiful Names of God" (also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā "Beautiful Names").[1][2]

According to 9th-century collections of hadith, the tradition of there being "99 names" is sahih (reliable), while the tradition of the actual list of 99 names as given by some collectors, in at least three different variants, is stated to be gharib (scarce, unreliable).[3] Most names in these lists are divine epithets taken from the text of the Quran, with a minority based in oral tradition or Sunnah. The lists of names vary because there are more than 99 such epithets to choose from.


The 99 names of God on the ceiling of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait.

In the hadith, Muhammad is said to have invoked God by a number of names.[4] The origin of the number 99 specifically is commonly attributed to a hadith considered weak, although there are less-commonly cited hadith that are considered authentic and also support the same point.[5] According to Sahih Muslim, 35:6475:

Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger [Muhammad] (may peace be upon him) as saying: "There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into Paradise. Verily, Allah is Odd and He loves odd numbers. And in the narration of Ibn 'Umar [the words are]: 'He who enumerated them'."

The Quran refers to God's "most beautiful Names" (al-ʾasmāʾ al-ḥusná).[6] Gerhard Böwering refers to Sura 17:110 as the locus classicus to which explicit lists of 99 names used to be attached in Quranic commentary. A cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets which are included in such lists is found in Sura 22:2224. Mystic philosopher Ibn Arabi surmised that the 99 names are "outward signs of the universe's inner mysteries".[5]

Most, though not all, of the traditionally listed 99 names are found somewhere in the Quran itself. The others are taken from the hadith.[5][7][8]

The list is not necessarily fixed, as more than 99 divine epithets can be adduced from Quran and hadith combined,[9] although the list of names given in modern sources is mostly that compiled by al-Walid ibn Muslim.

Lists of names

There is no universal agreement among Muslims as to what exactly counts as a name of Allah, and what does not. Additionally, while some names are only in the Qur'an, and others are only in the hadith, there are some names which appear in both. Different sources give different lists of the 99 names.[5]

The following list is based on the one found in the Jamiʿ at-Tirmidhi (9th century). Other hadith, such as those of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim or Ibn ʿAsākir, have variant lists. All attribute the original compilation of the list of names to Abu Hurairah.

Al-Tirmidhi comments on his list: "This (version of the) hadith is gharib [unusual, scarce]; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one." Various early Muslim exegetes, including Jaʿfar al-Sadiq, Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, Ibn Hazm, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, have given their own versions of lists of 99 names.[10]

Arabic Transliteration Translationa Reference grammatical typeb
 1 الرحمن Ar-Rahman The Exceedingly Merciful (Compassionate) Quran: Beginning of every Surah (chapter) except one, and numerous other places. The first verse ('ayat) of Surah ar-Rahman (Surah 55) consists only of this Name. D
 2 الرحيم Ar-Rahim The Merciful (Compassionate) Quran: Beginning of every Surah (chapter) except one, and numerous other places (there are a total of 114 Surahs in the Quran.) D
 3 الملك Al-Malik The King 59:23, 20:114, 23:116 D
 4 القدوس Al-Quddus The Holy 59:23, 62:1 D
 5 السلام As-Salam The Peace 59:23 D
 6 المؤمن Al-Muʾmin The Granter of Security59:23 D
 7 المهيمن Al-Muhaymin The Controller 59:23 D
 8 العزيز Al-Aziz The Powerful 3:6, 4:158, 9:40, 48:7, 59:23 D
 9 الجبار Al-Jabbar The Strong 59:23 D
 10 المتكبر Al-Mutakabbir The Supreme 59:23 D
 11 الخالق Al-Khaliq The Creator 6:102, 13:16,[11] 36:81, 39:62, 40:62, 59:24 D
 12 البارئ Al-Bariʾ The Evolver, The Maker 59:24 D
 13 المصور Al-Musawwir The Fashioner, The Shaper, The Designer 59:24 D
 14 الغفار Al-Ghaffar The Repeatedly Forgiving 20:82, 38:66, 39:5, 40:42, 71:10 D
 15 القهار Al-Qahhar The Subduer 12:39, 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4, 40:16 D
 16 الوهاب Al-Wahhab The Bestower 3:18, 38:9, 38:35 D
 17 الرزاق Ar-Razzaq The Provider, The Sustainer 51:58 D
 18 الفتاح Al-Fattah The Opener, The Victory Giver 34:26 D
 19 العليم Al-ʿAlim The Knowing 2:158, 3:92, 4:35, 24:41, 33:40 D
 20 القابض Al-Qabid The Restrainer, The Straightener 2:245 V
 21 الباسط Al-Basit The Extender / Expander 2:245 V
 22 الخَافِض Al-Khafid The Abaser, The Humiliator, The Downgrader 56:3; al-Kafʿamī (1992:38) O
 23 الرافع Ar-Rafiʿ The Exalter, The Upgrader 58:11, 6:83 V
 24 المعز Al-Muʿizz The Giver of Honor 3:26 V
 25 المذل Al-Muzill The Giver of Dishonor 3:26 V
 26 السميع As-Samiʿ The Hearing 2:127, 2:256, 8:17, 49:1 D
 27 البصير Al-Basir The All-Seeing 4:58, 17:1, 42:11, 42:27 D
 28 الحكم Al-Hakam The Judge, The Arbitrator 22:69 V
 29 العدل Al-ʿAdl The Just Not Quranic, see al-Kafʿamī (1992:40)
 30 اللطيف Al-Latif The Gentle, The Subtly Kind 6:103, 22:63, 31:16, 33:34 D
 31 الخبير Al-Khabir The All-Aware 6:18, 17:30, 49:13, 59:18 D
 32 الحليم Al-Halim The Forbearing, The Indulgent 2:235, 17:44, 22:59, 35:41 A
 33 العظيم Al-ʿAzim The Great, The Magnificent 2:255, 42:4, 56:96 D
 34 الغفور Al-Ghafur The Much-Forgiving 2:173, 8:69, 16:110, 41:32 D
 35 الشكور Ash-Shakur The Grateful 35:30, 35:34, 42:23, 64:17 A
 36 العلي Al-ʿAlī The Sublime 4:34, 31:30, 42:4, 42:51 34:23 D
 37 الكبير Al-Kabir The Great 13:9, 22:62, 13:30, 34:23 D
 38 الحفيظ Al-Hafiz The Preserver 11:57, 34:21, 42:6 A
 39 المقيت Al-Muqit The Nourisher 4:85 I
 40 الحسيب Al-Hasib The Bringer of Judgment 4:6, 4:86, 33:39 I
 41 الجليل Al-Jalil The Majestic, The Exalted 55:27, 7:143 A, V
 42 الكريم Al-Karim The Bountiful, The Generous 27:40, 82:6 D
 43 الرقيب Ar-Raqib The Watchful 4:1, 5:117 D
 44 المجيب Al-Mujib The Responsive, The Answerer 11:61 A
 45 الواسع Al-Wasiʿ The Vast, The All-Embracing, The Omnipresent, The Boundless 2:268, 3:73, 5:54 A
 46 الحكيم Al-Hakim The Wise 31:27, 46:2, 57:1, 66:2 D
 47 الودود Al-Wadud The Loving 11:90, 85:14 D
 48 المجيد Al-Majid The All-Glorious, The Majestic 11:73 A
 49 الباعث Al-Baʿith The Resurrector 22:7 V
 50 الشهيد Ash-Shahid The Witness 4:166, 22:17, 41:53, 48:28 A
 51 الحق Al-Haqq The Truth, The Reality 6:62, 22:6, 23:116, 24:25 D
 52 الوكيل Al-Wakil The Trustee, The Dependable, The Advocate 3:173, 4:171, 28:28, 73:9 A
 53 القوي Al-Qawiy The Strong 22:40, 22:74, 42:19, 57:25 D
 54 المتين Al-Matin The Firm, The Steadfast 51:58 D
 55 الولي Al-Wali The Friend, Helper 4:45, 7:196, 42:28, 45:19 D
 56 الحميد Al-Hamid The All Praiseworthy 14:8, 31:12, 31:26, 41:42 D
 57 المحصي Al-Muhsi The Accounter, The Numberer of All 72:28, 78:29 V
 58 المبدئ Al-Mubdiʾ The Originator, The Producer, The Initiator 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
 59 المعيد Al-Muʿid The Restorer, The Reinstater Who Brings Back All 10:34, 27:64, 29:19, 85:13 V
 60 المحيي Al-Muhyi The Giver of Life 7:158, 15:23, 30:50, 57:2 V
 61 المميت Al-Mumit The Bringer of Death 3:156, 7:158, 15:23, 57:2 V
 62 الحي Al-Hayy The Living 2:255, 3:2, 20:111, 25:58, 40:65 D
 63 القيوم Al-Qayyum The Subsisting, The Independent 2:255, 3:2, 20:111 D
 64 الواجد Al-Wajid The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing 38:44 V
 65 الماجد Al-Majid The Illustrious, The Magnificent 85:15, 11:73; al-Kafʿamī (1992:48) A
 66 الواحد Al-Wahid The Unique, The Single 13:16, 14:48, 38:65, 39:4 D
 67 الاحد Al-Ahad The One, The Indivisible 112:1 A
 68 الصمد As-Samad The Eternal, The Absolute, The Self-Sufficient 112:2 D
 69 القادر Al-Qadir The All-Powerful, He Who is able to do Everything 6:65, 46:33, 75:40 D
 70 المقتدر Al-Muqtadir The Determiner, The Dominant 18:45, 54:42, 6:65 A
 71 المقدم Al-Muqaddim The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward 16:61 V
 72 المؤخر Al-Muʾakhkhir The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away 71:4 V
 73 الأول Al-Awwal The First, The Beginning-less 57:3 D
 74 الأخر Al-Aakhir The Last, The Endless 57:3 D
 75 الظاهر Az-Zahir The Manifest, The Evident, The Outer 57:3 D
 76 الباطن Al-Batin The Hidden, The Unmanifest, The Inner 57:3 D
 77 الوالي Al-Wali The Patron, The Protecting Friend, The Friendly Lord 13:11 I
 78 المتعالي Al-Mutaʿali The Supremely Exalted, The Most High 13:9 D
 79 البر Al-Barr The Good, The Beneficent 52:28 D
 80 التواب At-Tawwab The Ever-Returning, Ever-Relenting 2:128, 4:64, 49:12, 110:3 D
 81 المنتقم Al-Muntaqim The Avenger 32:22, 43:41, 44:16 P
 82 العفو Al-ʿAfu The Pardoner, The Effacer, The Forgiver 4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:60, 58:2 V, I
 83 الرؤوف Ar-Raʾuf The Kind, The Pitying 9:117, 57:9, 59:10 I
 84 مالك الملك Malik-ul-Mulk The Owner of all Sovereignty 3:26 D
ذو الجلال والإكرام
The Lord of Majesty and Generosity 55:27, 55:78 D
 86 المقسط Al-Muqsit The Equitable, The Requiter 3:18; al-Kafʿamī (1992:58f) O
 87 الجامع Al-Jamiʿ The Gatherer, The Unifier 3:9 I
 88 الغني Al-Ghani The Rich, The Independent 39:7, 47:38, 57:24 I, A, D
 89 المغني Al-Mughni The Enricher, The Emancipator 9:28 V
 90 المانع Al-Maniʿ The Withholder, The Shielder, The Defender See al-Kafʿamī (1992:61)
 91 الضار Ad-Darr The Distressor, The Harmer, The Afflictor 6:17; al-Kafʿamī (1992:58)
 92 النافع An-Nafiʿ The Propitious, The Benefactor, The Source of Good 30:37
 93 النور An-Nur The Light 24:35 I
 94 الهادي Al-Hadi The Guide, The Way 22:54 I
 95 البديع Al-Badiʿ The Incomparable, The Unattainable, The Beautiful 2:117, 6:101 I
 96 الباقي Al-Baqi The Immutable, The Infinite, The Everlasting 55:27; al-Kafʿamī (1992:64) V
 97 الوارث Al-Warith The Heir, The Inheritor of All 15:23, 57:10 P
 98 الرشيد Ar-Rashid The Guide to the Right Path 2:256, 72:10
 99 الصبور As-Sabur The Timeless, The Patient 2:153, 3:200, 103:3 I

a.      b D = Direct; V = from Verb; A = from Adjective or Adjectival Phrase; I = from Indefinite noun; P = from Plural noun; O = Other

Islamic mysticism

In Islamic mysticism there is a tradition to the effect that the 99 names of God point to a mystical "Greatest Name" (Ismul A'dham, الإسم الأعظم).[12] This "Greatest Name of Allah" is said to be "the one which if He [Allah] is called (prayed to) by it, He will Answer."[13]

According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Masud, some of the names of God have also been hidden from mankind.[14]

Theophoric given names

A Muslim may not be given any of the 99 names of God in exactly the same form.[15] For example, nobody may be named al-Malik "the King", but may be named Malik "King". This is because of the belief that God is almighty, and no human being is the equivalent of God, and no human being will ever be the equivalent of God. Muslims are allowed to use the 99 names of God for themselves but should not put 'Al' at the front of them.[16]

However the names of God can be combined with the word "‘Abd-", which means "slave" (of God) and are commonly used as Arabic name among Muslims, such as Abd al-Rahman. The two parts of the name may be written separately (as above) or combined as one transliterated name; in such a case, the vowel transcribed after "Abd" is often written as u when the two words are transcribed as one: e.g., Abdurrahman, Abdul'aziz, "Abdul Jabbar", or even Abdullah ("Servant of God"). (This has to do with Arabic case vowels, the final u vowel showing the normal "quote" nominative/vocative case form: ʿabdu.)

Some Muslim people have names resembling those 99. Examples include:

Use in Bahá'í

Bahá'í sources state that the 100th name was revealed as "Bahá’" (Arabic: بهاء "glory, splendor"), which appears in the words Bahá'u'lláh and Bahá'í. They also believe that it is the greatest name of God.[17][18] The Báb wrote a noted pentagram-shaped tablet with 360 derivatives of the word "Bahá'" used in it.[17]

According to Bahá'í scholar ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī adopted the Persian poetic pen name "Bahāʾ" after being inspired by the words of the fifth Twelver Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, and the sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, who stated that the greatest name of God was included in either the Duʿāʾu l-Bahāʾ, a dawn prayer for Ramadan, or the Aʿmal ʿam Dawūd.[17] In the first verse of the duʿāʾu l-Bahāʾ, the name "Bahāʾ" appears four times.[19]

See also


  1. Fleming, Marrianne; Worden, David (2004). Religious Studies for AQA; Thinking About God and Morality. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers. ISBN 0-435-30713-4.
  2. Abdullah Saeed, The Qur'an: An Introduction, pg. 63. London: Routledge, 2008. ISBN 9781134102945
  3. Al-Tirmidhi says in his Sunan, "This (version of the) hadith is [unusual, scarce]; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one." Richard Shelquist (
  4. Ibn Majah, Book of Duʿa; Malik ibn Anas, Muwatta Imam Malik.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Diane Morgan, Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice, p. 10. Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2010. ISBN 9780313360251
  6. See the surahs "al-A'raf" (7:180), "al-Isra" (17:110), "Ta-Ha" (20:8) and "al-Hashr" (59:24).
  7. Martin Parsons, Unveiling God, pg. 206. William Carey Library, 2005. ISBN 9780878084548
  8. Juan Eduardo Campo, Encyclopedia of Islam, pg. 515. Infobase Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9781438126968
  9. Susanne Enderwitz, "The 99: Islamic Superheroes - A New Species." Taken from Transcultural Turbulences: Towards a Multi-Sited Reading of Image Flows, pgs. 84-85. Springer, 2011. ISBN 9783642183935. The 99 names of Allah; the ‘Most Beautiful Names’ at BBC Online. Accessed 8 April 2014.
  10. Suhaib Hassan, Introduction to the Science of Hadith Classification (ahya), cited after Richard Shelquist (
  11. "Al-Quran (القرآن) :: Online Quran Project :: Translation and Tafsir".
  12. Schimmel, Annemarie (1993). The Mystery of Numbers. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-508919-7.
  13. Momen, Moojan (2000). Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 241. ISBN 0-85398-446-8. The endnote states: "Ibn Májah, Sunan, 34. (Kitáb ad-Du'á), ch. 9, no. 3856, vol. 2, p. 1267. See also: Ad-Dárimí, Sunan, 23 (Fada'il al-Qur'án), ch. 15, no. 3296, vol. 2, pp. 324-5. Similar statements in Shi'i tradition include: Majlisí, Bihár al-Anwár, vol. 26. p. 7."
  14. Taymiyya, Ibn. The Goodly Word: al-Kalim al-Ṭayyib. Islamic Texts Society. p. 72. ISBN 1-903682-15-0.
  15. Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. 1 2 3 Lambden, Stephen (1993). "The Word Bahá': Quintessence of the Greatest Name". Bahá'í Studies Review. 3 (1).
  18. Smith, Peter (2000). "greatest name". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 167–8. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  19. Khadem, Dhikru'llah (March 1976). "Bahá'u'lláh and His Most Holy Shrine". Bahá'í News (540): 4–5.

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