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Using The Beautiful Names as Wazîfa

Reciting and meditating upon the Beautiful Names (Asmâ' ul-Husnâ) of Allâh can be a very powerful and productive practice. This practice may be used to promote the conscious emergence and continual awareness of these Divine Qualities in one's own life as a means of connecting to, and being a vehicle of, the Divine Presence.

...if a peaceful person comes into the room, someone might say, "It's wonderful to see a peaceful person." The dervish, however, would say instead, "Isn't it wonderful to see Divine Peace coming through this person?" What they mean by this is that the human personality has the potential to become the vehicle of the Universe's archetypes. This is the intention behind the practice of wazâ'if... to connect a specific quality in oneself to its source...

Awakening, by Pir Vilayat Khan


The Arabic word wazîfa literally means assignment, duty or daily ration and is commonly used to describe a Sufi practice of focusing the attention, by means of recitation or  meditation, on a particular Divine Quality in order to allow that quality to be expressed more openly and more powerfully in one's day-to-day life.

God is within you; you are His instrument, and through you He expresses Himself to the external world.

Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

You cannot reach the secret of this Love if you do not change every quality to be like that of your Beloved.

Meaning of the Names of Our Lord, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad

Ponder here and now on His qualities,
that tomorrow you may behold Him.

The Secret Rose Garden, Mahmud Shabistari

To Him we attribute no quality without ourselves having that quality.

ibn 'Arabi

The goal of wazîfa practice is to develop an intimate connection to these Divine Qualities and allow the Qualities to be reflected openly and freely in our lives.

Guide us on the path of Thine Own Goodness.
Draw us closer to Thee every moment of our life,
Until in us be reflected Thy Grace,
Thy Glory, Thy Wisdom, Thy Joy, and Thy Peace.

Saum, a prayer from Hazrat Inayat Khan

All meditation and contemplation are taught with this purpose: to harmonize one's innermost being with God, so that He is seeing, hearing, thinking through us, and our being is a ray of His light.

Unity of Religious Ideals, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

He who truly wants to become aware of the names of God should meditate upon His words "O people, it is you who are in need of Allah!". In reality there is nothing in existence but His names.

ibn 'Arabi (quote from Qur'an 35:15)

A common wazîfa practice is, for example, to use the Beautiful Names as part of a daily spiritual practice by choosing a couple of the Divine Qualities which seem to be lacking or out of balance in one's life, and reciting each of the chosen qualities, such as yâ-latîf,  yâ-bâtin, 33 or 99 times as an invocation, while deeply and powerfully imagining and feeling the successful expression of those Divine Qualities in one's own life experience.

The advantage of reciting these phrases in a language which is foreign to most of us is that there is an opportunity for them to convey higher forms of meaning that lie out of range of our familiar language.

Awakening, by Pir Vilayat Khan


When the Divine Quality is invoked in wazîfa practice the prefix is commonly used, which is translated by the English expression "O", indicating that one is calling upon, or invoking, the power and glory of that specific attribute. For example, reciting yâ-nûr, as an invocation could be simply translated as O Light, but thinking more deeply about the meaning and the intent of the invocation will often awaken a deeper personal meaning that might be something such as: O glorious Light of Divine Radiance, I humbly ask You to illuminate the path and show me the best way.

In this practice, depth is more important than quantity. The power of the words arises from the consciousness of one's intention. Without heart-felt intention and profound longing for success, mere repetition is pointless.

Each of the Names is a drop that contains the entire ocean. Insha'allah (God willing) you will discover the One who lives in the heart of every name. All of creation is an outward expression of the One Inner Presence.

Penetrate the heart of  just one drop of water,
and you will be flooded by a hundred oceans.

The Mystic Rose Garden, Mahmûd Shabistarî

Do not say anything else, just repeat that word over and over, innumerable times. Finally it will lose all meaning, but take on an entirely new significance. God will open the doors and you will find yourself using that simple word to say everything that you wanted to say.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, from Warrior of the Light, by Paulo Coelho

The definitions of the Divine Names, as offered on these web pages, are simply a starting point. They are merely fragments, pieces of a puzzle, awaiting your loving attention. By meditating on the essence of the multiple meanings of the Arabic roots from which each Beautiful Name is derived, one may discover a deeply personal meaning, and thereby learn how to most appropriately acknowledge and appreciate that specific quality in one's own life and in all of creation in every moment.

Guidance

On any journey, unfamiliar territory may be more easily traversed with the aid of an experienced guide, and similarly, an experienced guide can be an invaluable aid in the study and use of wazîfa.

The role of a spiritual guide is beautifully summarized in the Chandogya Upanishad (VI.14.1):

As a man from Gandhara, blindfolded, led away and left in a lonely place, turns to the east and west and north and south and shouts "I am left here and cannot see!" until someone removes his blindfold and says "There lies Gandhara; follow that path." 

Thus informed, able to see for himself, the man inquires from village to village and reaches his homeland at last. - Just so, my son, one who finds an illuminated teacher attains to spiritual wisdom...
 

Jalaluddin Rumi said:

A friend is needed; travel not the road alone,
Take not thy own way through this desert!
Whoso travels this road alone
Only does so by aid of the might of holy men.

Mathnawi, Book I

Yet it is possible for the seeker to make the journey without a guide:

Many ask, 'Can one not take the direct road to God, without the help of a Teacher?' I say, 'There is nothing impossible. A ladder is only a means to go from the ground floor to the upper floor; but if one can climb without a ladder, it is not impossible.' As the ladder is a convenience, so the teacher takes the same place in the spiritual path.

Sangatha II, Riyazat, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

When one knows the destination, then the most suitable path may be rather obvious. However, since few people truly understand the destination, and are unlikely to stumble upon  the destination by taking random steps, most people will get better results with a guide.

The real essence of the entire guidance issue is well summarized by the great Sufi teacher Abu Sa'id Khair who was asked about the steps required to reach the goal, and he simply replied:

Between God and His seeker there is only one step, and that is the step out of one's self and into the Truth.

Abu Sa'id Khair

So, if you see how to accomplish that one step, then you don't need a guide. If you don't see how to do that, then a guide will be very useful.

Fortunately, there is a teacher available in every moment, if one is awake enough to perceive the teaching. The Almighty One has sent to us many helpers, including the angels, prophets, saints and masters... yet we must learn to hear, learn to see, learn to feel, and we must learn to overcome old habits so that we too are free to walk in harmony with the Divine Will.

Allah is the Guide of those who believe to the Straight Way.

Qur'ân  22:54

To those who expect the Teacher to be a man, a man will bring the message; to those who expect the Teacher to be a woman, a woman must deliver it. To those who call on God, God comes. To those who knock at the door of Satan, Satan answers. There is an answer to every call. To a Sufi the Teacher is never absent, whether he comes in one form or in a thousand forms, he is always one to him, and the same One he recognizes to be in all, and all Teachers he sees in his one Teacher alone.

For a Sufi, the self within, the self without, the kingdom of the earth, the kingdom of heaven, the whole being is his teacher, and his every moment is engaged in acquiring knowledge. For some, the Teacher has already come and gone, for others the Teacher may still come, but for a Sufi the Teacher has always been and will remain with him forever.

The Way of Illumination, The Sufi, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are many possible paths... great progress may be made at the feet of  a magnificent soul who has come to lead the way as a guide, one who has already overcome all greed, hate, anger and lust, one who brings calm, understanding and loving-kindness to every situation. If one cannot find such a guide, then another possible guide is the sincere spiritual seeker who has been treading the path, with favorable results, for many years. And if one cannot find such a guide, then yet another source of guidance will be found in the oral and written traditions of the great prophets, saints and teachers. There truly is no shortage of ways to make progress... the Divine teachings are everywhere.

 

Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light.

Qur'ân  24:35

Yet, as useful as a guide may be, the spiritual journey is ultimately a personal journey, a journey of direct personal experience of the Divine. Guides, signposts and maps are useful, but they can only lead one to the threshold of discovery. Beyond that threshold, one must go alone.

The Sufi teacher never wants his pupil to be come an occultist or a great psychic or a man with great power. This does not mean that he will not become powerful, but the responsibility of the teacher is to develop the personality of the mureed, that it may reflect God, that it may show God's qualities; and when that is done then the responsibility of the teacher is over....

... What Christ taught was, "Make your personality as it ought to be, that you may no more be the slave of the nature which you have brought with you, nor of the character which you have made in your life; but that you may show in your life the divine personality, that you may fulfill on this earth the purpose for which you have come."

Philosophy, Psychology and Mysticism, Hazrat Inayat Khan

On the spiritual journey, the matter of greatest importance is the direct personal experience of the Divine Presence through which one may selflessly express the Divine... and these wazîfa practices, done with the utmost sincerity, devotion, perseverance and loving-kindness can be valuable and powerful steps toward that goal.
 

 ... The task of the Sufi teacher is not to force a belief on a mureed, but to train him so that he may become illuminated enough to receive revelations himself.

Mysticism, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship, Hazrat Inayat Khan

It must be understood that the path of discipleship, the path of initiation, is not such that the teacher gives some knowledge to his pupil, tells him something new which he has not heard before, or shows him some miracle; if he does he is not a true teacher. Man is really his own teacher; in himself is the secret of his being. The teacher's word is only to help him to find himself.

Healing, Mental Purification and Healing, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

    All that is left to us by tradition
         is mere words.
             It is up to us to find out what they mean.

Ibn 'Arabi

Origins of Beautiful Names

The following list of Beautiful Names is one of the most common lists of Beautiful Names. There are, however, a variety of different lists of 99 Beautiful Names, each of which has been handed down as a matter of tradition. This particular list is said to have been given by the Prophet Muhammad. For more details on the origins of this particular list of Beautiful Names, see the "origins" page.

Throughout recorded history, Beautiful Names have been revealed to the prophets of various cultures. In accordance with such traditions, the Hebrew Names, Aramaic Names or other such Divine Names are also useful in wazîfa practices.

The key to these practices is not found in the origin of the list, but rather in the devotion, sincerity and perseverance with which the seeker pursues the practices and approaches the threshold of discovery.... one must be empty in order to be filled.

It is not the solid wood that can become a flute, it is the empty reed.

Unity of Religious Ideals, Inayat Khan



Detailed Definitions

Click on any of the underlined numbers in following list of 99 Beautiful Names to see the detailed definitions which more fully describe each of the Beautiful Names.... or use the menu on the left side of this page to select the desired page.

Pronunciation

For guidance in Arabic pronunciation, each of the names has an audio sample that is chanted using an inspirational melody in the traditional Qur'ânic style, as indicated by the sound icon:   .

  (No sound? Click here for a sound troubleshooting guide)

Also, there is also a brief pronunciation guide available.

Please keep in mind that Arabic, much like English, is pronounced somewhat differently in different countries.

Alphabetically Sorted Index
of
99 Beautiful Names of Allâh

(click on any number for detailed definition and audio recitation)

'Adl The Just, The Equitable 29
'Afûw The Forgiver, The Effacing 82
Ahad The One, The Only One 67
âkhir The Last, The End and Ultimate 74
'Alî The Highest, The Exalted 36
'Alîm The All-Knowing, The Omniscient 19
Awwal The First, The Pre-Existing 73
'Azîm The Supreme Glory, The Most Grand 33
'Azîz The Mighty, The Eminent 8
Badî' The Wonderful Originator, The Awesome Inventor 95
Bâ'ith The Awakener, The Resurrector 49
Bâqî The Everlasting, The Ever-Present 96
Bâri' The Maker from Nothing, The Evolver 12
Barr The Gracious Benefactor, The Source of Goodness 79
Basîr The All-Seeing, The All-Perceiving 27
Bâsit The Expander, The Unfolder 21
tin The Hidden, The Inner 76
Dârr The Corrector, The Distresser 91
Dhû-l-Jalâli wal-Ikrâm The Lord of Majesty and Generosity 85
Fattâh The Opener, The Revealer 18
Ghaffâr The All-Forgiving, The Absolver 14
Ghafûr The Forgiving, The Pardoner 34
Ghanî The Self-Sufficient, The Independent 88
Hâdî The Guide, The Leader on the Right Path 94
Hafîz The Preserver, The Protector 38
Hakam The Judge, The Arbitrator 28
Hakîm The Perfectly Wise, The Most Judicious 46
Halîm The Forbearing, The Calm-Abiding 32
Hamîd The Praiseworthy, The Laudable 56
Haqq The Truth, The Only Reality 51
Hasîb The Accounter, The Reckoner 40
Hayy The Ever-Living, The Alive 62
Jabbâr The Restorer, The Repairer 9
Jalîl The Majestic, The Glorious 41
Jâmi' The Gatherer, The Uniter 87
Kabîr The Greatest, The Most Great 37
Karîm The Generous, The Bountiful 42
Khabîr The Inner-Aware, The Reality-Knower 31
Khâfid The Humbler, The One who Softens 22
Khâliq The Creator, The Planner 11
Latîf The Subtle, The Gracious, The Refined 30
Majîd The All-Glorious, The Majestic 48
Mâjid The Noble, The Generous 65
Mâlik al-Mulk The Master of the Kingdom 84
Malik The Ruler, The King 3
Mâni' The Preventer, The Defender 90
Matîn The Firm, The Steadfast 54
Mu'akhkhir The Delayer, The Postponer 72
Mubdi' The Starter, The Beginner, The Originator 58
Mudhill The Disgracer, The Dishonorer 25
Mughnî The Bestower of Wealth, The Fulfiller of Needs 89
Muhaimin The Protector, The Bestower of Security 7
Muhsî The Reckoner, The Appraiser 57
Muh The Giver of Life, The Reviver 60
Mu'îd The Restorer, The Renewer 59
Mu'izz The Bestower of Honor, The Strengthener 24
Mujîb The Fulfiller of Prayers, The Responsive 44
Mu'min The Remover of Fear, The Giver of Tranquility 6
Mumît The Creator of Death, The Life-Taker 61
Muntaqim The Avenger, The Inflictor of Retribution 81
Muqaddim The Expediter, The Promoter 71
Muqît The Nourisher, The Sustainer 39
Muqsit The Equitable, The Just 86
Muqtadir The All-Determining, The Prevailing 70
Musawwir The Fashioner, The Bestower of Forms 13
Muta'âli The Supremely Exalted, The Most High 78
Mutakabbir The Supremely Great, The Perfection of Greatness 10
Nâfi' The Creator of Good, The Auspicious 92
Nûr The Light, The Illuminator, The Enlightenment 93
Qâbid The Withholder, The Restrainer 20
Qâdir The Able, The Empowered, The Capable 69
Qahhâr The Ever-Dominant, The Conqueror 15
Qawî The Inexhaustible Strength, The Supremely Strong 53
Qayyûm The Self-Existing, The Self-Subsisting 63
Quddûs The Holiest, The Most Pure 4
Râfi' The Exalter, The Uplifter 23
Rahîm The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate 2
Rahmân The Lovingly Beneficent, Most Kind and Gracious 1
Raqîb The Watchful, The All-Observing 43
Rashîd The Appointer to the Right Path, The Director 98
Ra'ûf The Kind, The Tenderly Merciful and Consoling 83
Razzâq The Supplier, The Provider 17
Sabûr The Most Patient, The Patiently-Enduring 99
Salâm The Source of Peace, The Flawless 5
Samad The Satisfier of All Needs, The Eternal 68
Samî' The All-Hearing, The Ever-Listening 26
Shahîd The Witness, The Testifier 50
Shakûr The Most Grateful, The Most Appreciative 35
Tawwâb The Acceptor of Repentance, The Oft-Forgiving 80
Wadûd The Loving-Kindness, The Most Affectionate 47
Wahhâb The Liberal Bestower, The Giver of Gifts 16
hid The One, The Manifestation of Unity 66
Wâjid The Finder, The Resourceful 64
Wakîl The Trustee, The Advocate 52
Wâlî The Sole Governor, The Friendly Lord 77
Walî The Protecting Friend, The Nearby Guardian 55
Wârith The Inheritor of All, The Supreme Heir 97
Wâsi' The All-Embracing, The All-Pervading 45
Zâhir The Manifest, The Evident 75

 

with love,
        wahiduddin

last updated 27-May-2010