During the sacred month of Ramadan, it is said that Allah the Almighty responds to the invocations of the fasting believers. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
"There are three whose supplication is not rejected," and of them, that was mentioned is: "The fasting person when he breaks his fast." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)
Therefore we are encouraged to give supplication to Him, for during this period we are able to double our rewards, receive a response to our supplications and attain forgiveness for our sins. As Muslims, it's a given that we would learn of the Asma’ul Husna - or the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah (and those of us who are lucky are even taught about Asma'ul Husna as early as Kindergarten).
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The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:
“Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)
So, during this sacred month, why not take the opportunity to amplify supplication by calling upon the specific names of Allah. If you’re not sure just which of His 99 Names to call upon, here is a list of 8 names of Allah to call upon this Ramadan to help you get started.
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Probably one of the most well-known of Allah's 99 names is Ar- Rahman - which translates to ‘the most beneficient’, ‘the kindest and most giving’, ‘the most gracious’ and ‘the infinitely good’. Ar-Rahman reminds us that Allah continually showers all of His creations with the quality of loving mercy, blessings and prosperity - equally and without disparity regardless of class.
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is reported to have said:
"Ar-Rahman is the beneficent One whose love and mercy are manifested in the creation of the world.”
Additionally, surah ar-Rahman (which is the 55th surah in the Quran) also imparts 10 lessons and blessings Allah mercifully bestows upon his creations. It is also said that if one seeks to be less forgetful, they should recite ar-Rahman 299 times after every obligatory prayer and that the continuous recitation of ar-Rahman can transform even the most heartless of people into someone kind and loving.
Appearing almost hand in hand with Ar-Rahman is Ar-Rahim; a beautiful name of Allah which translates to 'the most merciful' and 'the most compassionate'. From the triliteral root of r-h-m (ر ح م), the classical Arabic connotations to this name include, 'to love', 'to have mercy' and 'to show favour and goodness'. Appearing in the first line of Al-Fatihah, the opening surah of the Quran, ar-Rahim also indicates the 'womb' - in which protection is provided to all creations that are brought forth into being. As described by Dr Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi:
"Rahman and Rahim are both derived from the root ‘rahmat’, which signifies tenderness that requires the exercise of beneficence [kindness] and thus comprising the ideas of both love and mercy".
In addition, it is said that by beginning this dua after the Asr prayer on Friday and reciting it till sunset, Allah will help you in getting over any difficulties - no matter how impossible it may seem.
On one occasion in the Quran, in Surah Al-Hashr, Allah calls himself Al-Muhaymin which translates to 'The Guardian', 'The Witness' and 'The Overseer’.
“He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer (al-Muhaymin), the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.” (Surah Al-Hashr, 59:23)
Al-Muhaymin comes from the root h-m-n (ه-م-ن) and appears two times in the Quran in one derived form. Examples of this form are wamuhayminan (“and a guardian”) and al-muhayminu (“the Guardian”). In terms of dhikr, if recited 135 times daily, it is said that the reciter becomes pious and sincere. Additionally, if one were to recite it daily after obligatory prayers, angels are said to be appointed to the reciter to protect them from all possible accidents and to help them overcome all difficulties in daily life. ?
In life, it's inevitable that we as people (and thus are far from perfect) make mistakes. If you've ever thought that you've messed up big time, then you're going to be amazed by the meaning of Allah’s name - Al-Ghaffar. From the root gh-f-r (غ ف ر), with the classical Arabic connotations of 'to pardon', 'to forgive' and 'to set aright', Al-Ghaffar translates to 'the All-Forgiving', 'The Absolver', 'The veiler of sins and faults', and the 'most protecting One'. As mentioned in the Quran:
“And verily, I am Al-Ghaffar (the All-Forgiving) for him who repents, believes and does righteousness and is moreover rightly guided.” (Surah Taha, 20:82)
In short, no matter how many times you sin, falter, or make a mistake, believe that Allah is Al-Ghaffar - the one who constantly forgives. If you are feeling downcast or ashamed, seek Allah through this name to implore for his endless forgiveness.
In the Quran, Allah’s name Al-Qahhar is described as 'The Ever-Dominating', 'The Conqueror','The Prevailer' and 'The Irresistible'. It comes from the Arabic root qaf-haa-ra (ق-ه-ر) which means ‘to dominate over’ or ‘to subdue from above’. In the Qur’an in Surah al-An`aam, Allah says;
“And He is the subjugator (al-qaahiru) over His servants. And He is the Wise (al-Hakeem), the Acquainted [with all] (al-Khabeer). (Surah Al-An'am 6:18)
Contextually, it is used in the Quran to point out the fact that Allah stands above all of His creations and that there is no action that can take place in this universe without the permission of Allah. Furthermore, it is also mentioned that whoever seeks to receive help from Allah ﷺ in order to stand triumphant against their enemies (or against those who seek to oppress), need only to recite 'Ya Qahhaar' 306 times (or more) a day.
When you're feeling helpless, stuck or that things are too difficult to handle, remember that Allah is al-Fattah and that He necessarily invites you to know Him by this name through trials and difficult circumstances. Deriving from the trilateral root f-t-h (ف-ت-ح), Al-Fattah translates to 'The Opener', 'The Revealer' and 'The Granted of Success'. He is the One by whose guidance will give victory, open the doors to success and reveals the solutions to all problems.
In the Quran, Allah says:
“Whatever mercy Allah opens for mankind, then none can be holding it back; and whatever He holds back, then none can be sending it forth after Him; And He is The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise” (Surah Fatir 35:2)
Al-Fattah is also one of the names that best relates to Ramadan. If you've felt like your relationship with Allah hasn't been doing too great for some time now, you can rectify that in the holy month of Ramadan by giving supplications and asking Him to open up your heart to Him. In terms of dhikr, it is said that if you recite Al-Fattah 70 times after Fajr prayers, keeping the right hand on the chest, all your doubts will be cleared and your power to perceive things greatly improves.
According to the Lisan al-Arab (one of the largest and most detailed dictionaries of the Arabic language), Al-Kareem encompasses all kinds of good, honour and virtues. For example, the holy Quran itself is often referred to as 'Quran Kareem'- which indicates that the Quran is full of benefits and virtues. In terms of Allah Al-Kareem, the name is often translated to 'The Most Generous', 'The Most Bountiful' and 'The Most Esteemed'. It refers to the One who is continually giving forth the grandest and most precious bounty as well as all manner of gifts - including support and refuge; even unto those who (we may think) are not deserving. Imam al-Ghazali narrates that al-Kareem is:
“One who forgives if he has the power; follows through when he promises, and exceeds the limits one could hope for when he gives; nor is he concerned with how much he gives or to whom.”
In the Quran, you can see instances where the name is used in Al-Infitar (82:6). There is also another meaning alluded to it in surah Maqayees al-lugha - which indicates that karam can also refer to something that intrinsically has honour in and of itself; as demonstrated in Surah Al-Isra:
“And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference”. (Surah Al-Isra 17:70)
If you have any kind of fear, it is said that Allah appoints angels to pray for those who recite Al-Kareem on the bed till they fall asleep to dispel those fears while those who recite Al-Kareem 9 times daily after obligatory prayers will be brought great honour, dignity and prosperity.
If you've ever felt alone, unseen or unheard, take comfort and remember the fact that Allah is Al-Baseer. Derived from the trilateral root b-s-r (ب ص ر) which carries the connotations of 'to see', 'to understand' and ‘to be acutely aware’, Al Baseer is the name of Allah that translates to 'The All-Seeing', 'The All-Perceiving' and 'The All- Comprehending'. ? He is the One who is able to see and understand things clearly - no matter how small or minute they may be and regardless if it is something hidden or apparent. Appearing in the Quran a total of 42 times, Allah Himself says:
“Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Surah Al-Isra 17:1) . . . There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing (Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:11) . . . And Allah judges with truth, while those they invoke besides Him judge not with anything. Indeed, Allah— He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Surah Ghafir 40:20)
Additionally, Al-Baseer loves for His believers to do the best in life, which is why the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] said:
“Allah loves that when you engage in some work, you do so with proficiency.” (al-Bayhaqee)
This encourages and inspires us to carry out the tasks in our daily lives with honesty and integrity as we believe that Allah is able to see our actions. In terms of dhikr, it is said that a person who recites this name 100 times after Friday Prayers will get esteem in the eyes of others and that if the name is recited regularly 5 times a day, it is even said to improve eyesight and cure eye ailments such as night blindness.
So now that you have a list of 8 powerful names of Allah, why not take the time to increase your supplications and recite any one of these beautiful names of Him. Not only is this a great and easy habit to get into but by reciting his name, you will also be able to open your heart to Him and receive His affections.