Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. Is it permissible to give names to Allah SWT – of which are not mentioned in al-Quran and al-Hadith – if it seems suitable with His greatness?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
To answer the above question, we start first with the saying of Allah SWT:
وَلِلَّـهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names.
Surah al-A’raf (180)
In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمَا مِائَةً إِلاَّ وَاحِدًا مَنْ أَحْصَاهَا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ
Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.
Sahih al-Bukhari (2736) and Sahih Muslim (2677)
Ibn Kathir in commenting on the above verse 180 of surah al-A’raf said: It is should be known that Asma’ al-Husna are not limited to 99. This is as mentioned in a hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad. The same is stated by Imam Abi Hatim bin Hibban al-Busti in his Sahih. Imam Abu Bakar Ibn al-‘Arabi, one of the imam in the madhhab of Maliki in his book ‘Aridhah al-Ahwazi bi Syarh Sahih al-Tirmizi stated that there are among them people who gather the asma’ Allah (names of Allah) from al-Quran and al-Sunnah up to 1000 names. Wallahua’lam. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim, 4/65).
In answering the above question, we cannot give names to Allah with certain names even if they are suited with His greatness. Ibn Hazm explained: “It is prohibited to give names to Allah except what is mentioned and narrated in al-Quran as well as the sayings of the Prophet PBUH or through the scholarly consensus (ijma’), without adding to it even if the meanings are true and suited with the attributes of Allah SWT”. (See al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal, 2/108)
The names of Allah SWT are only known through what is said by Him in al-Quran or through the saying of His prophets. It is a tawqifi matter. Imam al-Nawawi said: “Indeed, Allah’s names are among tawqifi matters, in which, they may not be set unless there are sahih evidences.” (See al-Minhaj fi Syarh Sahih Muslim Ibn al-Hajjaj, 7/188)
The names cannot be determined through qiyas (analogical deduction). Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi in his tafsir book, tafsir al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat stated: “There is no place for qiyas upon the names of Allah. This is because Allah’s names are taken from syarak and al-tawqif”.
Hence, it should be known that the names of Allah are not something logical. In fact, it should be based on evidences from al-Quran and al-Sunnah.
While Sheikh Dr Said bin Ali al-Qahtani stated in Syarh Asma’ Allah al-Husna explaining: The names of Allah SWT are tawqifi matters. There is no place for logic in it. Therefore, it is wajib to tawaqquf on what has already stated in al-Quran and al-Sunnah. It may not be added or lessened. This is because logic will never be able to decide whether these names are suited for Allah. So, it is wajib to follow the dalil in this matter according to the saying of Allah SWT:
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned.
Surah al-Isra’ (36)
Another saying of Allah SWT:
قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Say, "My Lord has only forbidden immoralities - what is apparent of them and what is concealed - and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know."
Surah al-A’raf (33)
Sheikh Dr Said al-Qahtani also said: Naming Allah with what He does not name Him-self with and rejecting the names He gives to Him-self are a crime upon His rights. Hence, it is wajib for us to be ethical on this matter and it is enough with what is mentioned in the evidences from al-Quran and al-Sunnah. (See Syarh Asma’ Allah al-Husna, pg. 10)
Based on the above evidence and statements, it is clear that it is prohibited to give names to Allah with certain names even if they are suited to His greatness. This is because those names are among tawqifi matters, which may only be known through what is mentioned by He Him-self in al-Quran or through the sayings of His Prophet.
Hence, it is enough for us to take from only what has already been mentioned in al-Quran and al-Hadith without adding or lessening them because our logic is unable to reach what is suited to Allah SWT for His names.
May Allah SWT bless us with knowledge and understanding in practising all of His commandments as well as leaving the prohibitions. Amin.