Ramadan is upon us once more, and I am excited. For Muslims across the world, it is the most important month of the entire year, filled with immense blessings and rewards. During this month, most people not only decorate their homes or re-stock their pantries, but they also generate ideas of how to increase their ibadah. This might include memorizing a new surah, listening to more lectures, going to tarawih prayer, and/or increasing acts of charity. There are so many different ways to increase closeness to Allah.

One practice that I have adopted is attempting to memorize and understand more of the 99 names of Allah. In doing so, I gain greater understanding of the attributes of Allah and am able to incorporate their significance and ramifications into my daily life.

Al-Salam

One of the first names I studied is Al-Salam. Salam means peace, soundness, safety, and security. It also means perfection and freedom from fault. I am witness to Allah’s attribute of Al-Salam as the giver of peace and serenity because of the goodness He instills within mankind. Allah has created a world with dueling forces of good and evil. But He has promised us that ultimately it is the good within us that will lead us to Paradise. While it may seem strange to pinpoint human beings at the center of an example about Allah’s peace, it makes sense when you remember people in your life and in the world that embody peace. Have you ever met someone whose very demeanor and presence brings a feeling of calm over you? Or what about well-known leaders and scholars who have been the champions of peace in periods of intense conflict or war? Allah’s ability to create peace and inspire it in the heart of man, is something that brings me immense comfort.

On the other hand, I connect with Allah when I personally am in need of peace, and it is life circumstances or human beings that have disrupted my peace. In moments when I need to find calm, I turn to Allah. Complaining to Him about my troubles and asking Him to bring me peace of mind and heart always leads to alleviation of stress. One du’a of the Prophet that I make is the following: “O Allah, I seek refuge with You from worry, grief, incapacity, laziness, miserliness, cowardice, debt, and being overpowered by others.”

Al-Jabbar

Another name of Allah that I ponder is Al-Jabbar. It means The Compeller. Yaqeen Institute breaks the meaning down further into two parts: 1) the One who is able to compel and subdue all His servants, with all of creation submitting to Him; and 2) the One who mends the broken and enriches the poor. As the world currently watches a worsening genocide, it brings me comfort to know that Allah will enact control over the oppressors and bring to justice those who have injured, harmed or murdered the innocent. The Prophet (s) said, “The arrogant and the tyrants will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection as tiny particles. The people will trample upon them due to their disgrace before Allah Almighty.”

Yaqeen Institute also described the name Al-Jabbar as the One who mends what is broken and the One who consoles the hearts. This brings me comfort to know that those whose hearts have been harmed due to the disregard and abuse from their fellow man, will have their hearts soothed by Allah and their wounds healed.

Al-Rahman

One of the most well-known names of Allah is Al-Rahman, the Most Merciful. Rahmah is tenderness, kindness, care and compassion. Allah says in the Qur’an, “My mercy encompasses all things.” In that same vein the Prophet (s) told us, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His book with Him upon the Throne, ‘Verily, My mercy prevails over My wrath.’”

I rely on this name when I am feeling lost due to all the mistakes I have made in my life. In those moments I start to doubt myself and my abilities to do good and receive good. It’s a comfort to remember that as long as I am able to turn to Allah to ask for help or ask Allah for forgiveness, He SWT will always respond with mercy.
Reflecting on the Names of Allah

I have only mentioned three of the 99 Names of Allah. According to the Prophet (s), the reward is great for memorizing all of His 99 names. The Prophet said, “Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise” (Bukhari and Muslim). We know of course that memorizing and reciting His names comes with further responsibility. We have to strive to understand the meaning and scope of each name and to see how each one can connect to, and impact, our daily lives. For example, we mentioned above that He SWT is Ar-Rahman, The Most Merciful. He is also Ar-Raheem, the Bestower of Mercy. So, when one has sinned, calling upon Him with sincere repentance, and asking for His mercy, can bring relief and set things straight.
Allah SWT tells us in the Qur’an, “And the most beautiful names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them” (7:180). What better time than Ramadan to learn His names, to memorize as many as we can, and to reflect on their beauty and power and meaningfulness.

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