It is no surprise that a simple name given to an individual or entity won’t attract much criticism or analysis, but a complicated one would. That is the nature of things. The more attributes attached to an individual or entity may give rise to more analyses and comparisons of those attributes. In Islam, its divine entity Allah has ninety-nine names, each carrying an attribute possessed by Him. So, those varied attributes of Allah calls for comparison and analysis for consistency. In this article, I will show that such attributes pose difficult problems for Muslim believers on the theological level. I will also show that Allah’s name in Islam has at least a hundred names and not just ninety nine.


List of Allah’s names

Allah's 99 names


Analysis of some of Allah’s attributes

Here are some of the associated problems with such a complicated concept:

  • One of Allah’s attributes is “The Inheritor” (Al-Warith). Now, to inherit is to inherit from someone, usually after his/her death. We know that Allah owns the universe and all its objects, including man. We know, also, that He has the attribute “The Eternal” (As-Samad). So, no one was before him to inherit things from. He is also “The Creator” (Al-Khaliq) of all things. Is Allah the inheritor of himself? He created every object in this universe. So, is He going to inherit what is legally His?
  • Allah is “The Eternal” (As-Samad). Many of his other attributes involve temporality, or presence in-time. I am thinking of attributes like “Inheritor”, “Patient”, “Responsive”. How to reconcile Allah’s “Eternality” and attributes that involve Allah’s “Temporality” is an issue that is very problematic. Muslim theologians will have to try to explain how Allah is Eternal (outside of time-limits) and “Does” things in the temporal world. One may think this is not a problem. In fact it is a very big problem. How can Allah act in-time when he is outside time?
  • How can Allah be “The Pardoner” and “The Avenger” at the same time? If He pardon, then He pardons to the ultimate limit. But this won’t allow him to be the Avenger. And, if he is the avenger, then He is not infinitely pardoner. Those two infinite attribute seem to cancel each other out. If one is given to Allah, the other falls short of Allah’s infinite attribute.
  • How can Allah be “The Subduer” and “The Merciful” at the same time? If Allah is infinitely Subduer, He cannot be infinitely Merciful. If Allah is infinitely Merciful, there is no way for him to be infinitely Subduer. Muslims will have to show genuine reconciliation between attributes of Allah that seem in the way of each other, instead of guaranteeing the fullness of Allah.
  • How can Allah be “The Distresser” and “The Preventor” of distress at the same time? Again, this dilemma is similar to the oner I raised in points 3 and 4.


Allah’s 100th name

Allah has only 99 names according to traditional Islam. In fact, this is false. Muslims need to be aware that Allah has at least 100 names. The Qur’an also gives Allah the attribute of the “Best Deceiver” (Kheir-ul-Makireen), which is not included in those 99 names:


The verse came down showing that Christians lied about Jesus being crucified when he was not. The word “Makir”, in Arabic, speaks about a trickery person who tries to deceive innocent people. It is an evil verse indeed that gives to the Islamic deity a characteristic that is assigned, in our human morality, to bad people like liars and thieves. How can Allah be the best of deceivers when He is The Noble, and The Truth? Muslims have huge conceptual dilemma here with regard to the concept of Allah as a logically consistent concept.


Conclusive Summary

There are multiplicity of issues – sometimes contradictions, sometimes very problematic – that arise from the attributes Islam has imparted to “Allah” by His 99 names. I mentioned some of them here, which is far from exhaustive. Muslims will have to show us that the concept of “Allah” makes sense, if any at all.

Comments powered by CComment

Joomla templates by a4joomla