Names Of God And The Prophet (sws)


Could you please share your understanding of the following:-

In salah we recite thanā (a formula said after the first takbīr). What is its source? Is it a part of the Qur'an or a separate wahi (revelation)?

b. What is the source of the names of Almighty Allah and names of Prophet Muhammad (sws)? Is "Ya Jamilo" the name of Allah?

C. What is the source of six "Kalimas" that are taught to every Muslim. Are they part of wahi?

d. I believe that during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) mosque is not only used for offering ritual prayers but also as a place for conducting state affairs and shelter for the travelers and alike. Could such a practice be implemented today to help our rulers aligned with the truth?


a. These words of glorification of God Almighty have been ascribed to the Prophet (sws) on the authority of Hazrat Aesha (rta). For detail and full references please refer to:

b. There is a hadith in the Sahih of Imam Muslim which says:

The Prophet (pbuh) said: God has ninety-nine names (one less than hundred). Whoever covers them will go to the Paradise. He is odd (number i.e. He is one) and he prefers the odd. (Bukhari and Muslim)

We believe that this cannot be taken to mean that God has only ninety-nine names because the word name here refers to the attributes of God and not His proper names. All good attribute can be ascribed to Him and these cannot be confined to ninety nine. The Prophetic saying then can be taken to mean that He just had hinted to the names he had in mind at that time. This does not provide an exhaustive list. We are forced to take this meaning because we know from the Qur'an that all God has all the good names ascribed to Him. The Almighty says:

And (all) the most beautiful attributes belong to God, so call on Him by them.(Q 7:180)

Imam Ibn e Kathir, in his commentary on the above verse, has taken up the issue. He first mentioned the above quoted hadith and said that the narrative is Sahih(A Sahih hadith is the one transmitted through an unbroken chain of narrators all whom are of sound character and memory. The hadith should not clash with a more reliable report and must not suffer from any other hidden defect.) He however, does not consider the narratives which mention the list of the names as sahih. He then explains that one may not think that God has only this number of names. He writes:

It needs to be appreciated that the good names of God are not confined to the ninety-nine (referred to in the hadith). This we say on the basis of that Imam Ahmed Bin Hambal has recorded in his Musnad.

He quotes the following hadith from Musnad of Imam Ahmed:

I beseech you by every name of yours, with which you call yourself, or which you have revealed in your book, or which you have taught to someone among your creations, or which you preferred to keep in the knowledge of the unseen you have.

While explaining that the names mentioned in some of the ahadith cannot be ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) he says:

What a group of scholars of the science of the hadith suggest is that the names mentioned in this hadith have been inserted (by some narrator).

He is of the view that the fact that some other people have come up with a different number of names also affirms his claim. He says:

Some of these scholars have collected one thousands names of the Almighty.

Same is the view of Ibn-e Hajar al-'Asqalaani, the celebrated commentator of the Sahih of Imam Bukhari, which he expressed in his commentary on the narrative.

In the light of the above we can conclude that the Prophet (sws) only referred to the present knowledge he had. He did not mean to provide an exhaustive list of the names. The Qur'anic verses and the other narratives lead us to the conclusion that there could be many more names.

I could not find the hadith which mentions the ninety-nine names of the Prophet Muhammad (sws). However, there is a hadith ascribed to him which says that he had five names.

I have five names: I am Muhammad, and I am Ahmad, and I am Al-Maahi with whom God erases disbelief, and I am Al-Hashir following whom human beings are going to be resurrected and I am Al-Aaqib. (Bukhari: 3339)

Some narratives only mention one name. The Qur'an has referred to the Prophet (sws) through many names. I would again point out the important fact that these are not proper names. These are basically attributes or qualities of the Prophet (sws). For example the above quoted hadith says that the Prophet (sws) was al-hashir. None around him called him by this name even after he told this to the Companions (rta). Therefore, we should not confuse them with the proper names. One may try to find out all the qualities of the Prophet (sws) and list them as names. The list can go beyond thousand.

c. Six kalimas are not an essential and integral part of the faith. These are only comprehensive statement about our faith. These don't originate form the basic religious sources rather they are compiled by some scholars of the later generations.

d. Please refer to: Mosques

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