Monday, July 16, 2012

Memorize 99 Names of Allah

Here is a Ṣaḥīḥ (Authentic) or Muwaththaq (Reliable) ḥadīth that gives the number of names of Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ) and tells us to call by them. It also says whoever memorizes them will go to heaven.

«حدثنا أحمد بن زياد بن جعفر الهمداني رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا علي بن إبراهيم بن هاشم عن أبيه عن أبي الصلت عبد السلام بن صالح الهروي عن علي بن موسى الرضا عن أبيه عن آبائه عن علي (ع) قال قال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله) لله عز وجل تسعة وتسعون اسماً، من دعا الله بها استجاب له، ومن أحصاها دخل الجنة»
Narrated to us Aḥmad b. Ziyād b. Ja`far al-Hamadānī (رضي الله عنه)[1] said `Alī b. Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim[2] from his father[3] from Abī al-Ṣalt `Abd al-Salām b. Ṣāliḥ al-Harawī[4] from `Alī b. Mūsa al-Riḍā from his father from his fathers from `Alī (عليه السلام) said, the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: “For Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ) has ninety-nine (99) names, whoever does du`ā’ by them, he will be answered. And whoever memorizes them[5] will enter jannah.”[6]

[1] Aḥmad b. Ziyād b. al-Hamadānī is thiqah (thiqah) according to al-Ṣadūq (See: al-Ṣadūq’s Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 2, pg. 369) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī, al-Khulāsah, pg. 19, person # 37).
[2] `Alī b. Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim al-Qummī is thiqah (trustworth) according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī, al-Rijāl, pg. 260, person # 680) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī’s al-Khulāṣah, pg. 100, person #45).
[3] Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim is praised according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī, al-Rijāl, pg. 16, person # 18), al-Ṭūsī (See: al-Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, pg. 12, person # 6) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī’s al-Khulāṣah, pg. 5, person #9).
[4] `Abd al-Salām b. Ṣāliḥ, Abū al-Ṣalt al-Harawī is thiqah (thiqah) according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī’s al-Rijāl, pg. 245, person # 643) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī, al-Khulāsah, pg. 117, person # 2).  al-Ṭūsī calls Abū al-Ṣalt an `Āmī (Sunnī) (See: al-Ṭūsī’s al-Rijāl, pg. 360, person # 5328). al-Khoei contends that Abū al-Ṣalt was not an `Āmī, rather he was a Shī`ah. Either way, his status a thiqah narrator does not change.
[5] There is a difference of opinion regarding the words (من أحصاها man aḥṣāhā). According to Ibn Athīr some say that it means مَنْ حَفِظَها عَنْ ظَهْرِ قَلْبِهِ “whoever memorizes them (learns by heart)”. This ḥadīth is also found in Sunnī books, and they have translated it as “whoever memorizes them”. Other people have said it means “having knowledge of its meanings and acting by it, while others say “having knowledge of it, believing in it, and having certainty of the characteristics of Allāh”. (See: Ibn Mundhūr, Lisān al-`Arab, vol. 14, pg. 184 & Abū Manṣūr al-Harawī (d. 370), Tahdhīb al-Lughah, vol. 5, pg. 107)
[6] al-Ṣadūq, al-Tawḥīd, ch. 29 – Chapter on Names of Allāh and the Difference Between their Meanings, pg. 195, ḥadīth # 9


al-Harawī, Abū Manṣūr. Tahdhīb al-Lughah. Ed. Muḥammad b. `Awḍ Mur`ab. 1st ed. 8 vols. Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Turāth al-`Arabī, 2001.
al-Ḥillī. al-Khulāṣah al-`Aqwāl. 1st ed. 1 vols. Qum: , Dār al-Dukhā’ir, 1411.
al-Najāshī. Rijāl. Ed. Musa al-Shabiri al-Zanjani. 5. 1 vols. Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1416.
al-Ṣadūq. al-Tawḥīd. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1398/1978.
—. Kamāl al-Dīn. 2nd. 2 vols in 1 vols. Qum: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1395/1975.
al-Ṭūsī. al-Fihrist. Najaf: al-Maktabah al-Raḍawiyyah, n.d.
—. al-Rijāl. 1st. Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1415.
Mundhūr, Ibn. Lisān al-`Arab. Qum: Nashr Adab al-Hawzah, 1405.


  1. Salamu Alaykom,

    Brother, what in you opinion is meant when our Prophet (pbuh) says, "whoever does dua by them" ?

    By all 99 names?
    or by each or a few?

    Something like the following:

    Thank You


  2. Wa `Alaykum Assalām,

    There is nothing in this ḥadīth to indicate that you must do du`ā’ by “all” of the names of Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ). According to the Qur’ān, as well, Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ) says to call him by his names; there is nothing to allude to saying all of them.

    I do not want to enter into the realm of speculation, but majority of scholars never took this ḥadīth as having to do du`ā’ by all the names of the Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ). Wallāhu A`lim