THE variety of things and beings and the peculiarities which
make them differ, cause the necessity of name. Name produces
the picture of a form, figure, color, size, quality, quantity,
feeling and sense of things and beings, not only perceptible
and comprehensible, but even of those beyond the perception
and comprehension; therefore its importance is greater than
all things. There is a great secret hidden in a name, be it
the name of a person or a thing, and it is formed in relation
to the past, present and future conditions of its object; the
right horoscope tells you therefore about the conditions of
All mystery is hidden in name. The knowledge of everything
rests on first knowing its name, and knowledge is not complete
which is devoid of name. Mastery depends upon knowledge; man
cannot master a thing of which he has no knowledge. All blessings
and benefits derived from earth or heaven are gained by mastery
which depends upon knowledge, knowledge depending upon name.
Man without the knowledge of the name of a thing is ignorant,
and the one who is ignorant is powerless, for man has no hold
over anything of which he has no knowledge.
The reason of man's greatness is the scope of the knowledge
with which he is gifted, all the mystery of which lies in his
recognition of the differences between things and beings. This
gives man superiority not only over all creatures of the earth,
but it even makes him excel the angels, the hosts of heaven.
The Quran explains it in the following words, 'When thy Lord
said unto the angels, 'We are going to place a substitute on
earth' they said, 'Wilt Thou place there one who will do evil
therein and shed blood, while we celebrate Thy praise and sanctify
Thee?' God answered, 'Verily We know that which ye know not;'
and He taught Adam the names of all things, and then presented
them to the angels, and said, 'Declare unto Me the names of
these things if ye say truth.' They answered, 'Praise be unto
Thee, we have no knowledge but what Thou teachest us, for Thou
art all-knowing and wise'. God said, 'O! Adam, tell them their
names'. And when Adam came he told their names.'
Every name reveals to the seer the past, present, and the
future of that which it covers. Name is not only significant
of form but of character as well. The meaning of name plays
an important part in man's life, and the sound, the vowels in
the name, the rhythm, number, and nature of the letters which
compose it, the mystical numbers, symbol and planet, as well
as the root from which it is derived and the effect which it
produces, all disclose their secret to the seer.
The meaning of a name has a great influence upon its possessor
as well as upon others. From the sound of the letters and the
word they compose the mystic can understand much about the character
and fate of a person. An intelligent person generally gets the
idea from the sound of letters that compose a name whether it
is beautiful or ugly, soft or hard, consonant or dissonant,
but does not know what makes it so; the one who understands
knows why it is so.
Letters singly or together are either pronounced smoothly
or with difficulty and have their effect accordingly upon oneself
and upon another. Names that are smooth and soft-sounding make
a soft effect upon the speaker and listener, whereas hard sounding
names have a contrary effect. Man naturally calls soft things
by smooth names and hard things by hard-sounding names as for
instance flower and rock, wool and flint, etc. Language, and
especially name, show the class of people and character of families,
communities and races. Vowels play a great part in the name
and its influence. E and I denote Jamal, the feminine quality
of grace, wisdom, beauty and receptivity, O and U denote Jalal,
the masculine quality of power and expression. A denotes Kamal,
which is significant of the perfection in which both these qualities
are centered. The above-named vowels in the composition of the
name have an effect according to their place in the name, whether
in the beginning, center or end.
Fate in Sanskrit is called Karma, meaning the rhythm of past
actions. The influence of rhythm suggested by a name has an
effect upon the entity whose name it is as well as upon those
who call him by that name. Evenness of rhythm gives balance
while unevenness causes a lack of balance. The beauty of rhythm
beautifies the character of man.
By rhythm is meant the way in which the name begins and how
it ends, whether evenly or unevenly, on the accent or before
the accent. The accent falling on the beginning, middle or end
varies the effect which plays a part in a person's character
and fate. The rhythm of the name suggests the main thing in
life, balance or its lack. Lack of balance is a deficiency in
character and causes adversity in life. The number of letters
plays a great part in the name of a person. An even number shows
beauty and wisdom, and an odd number shows love and power.
Number plays a great part in life and especially in name.
Each letter of a name has its numerical value; in oriental science
it is called Jafr. By this system not only are names
given to buildings, objects and people, conveying their period
of commencement and completion, but the combination of these
numbers conveys to the seer its mystical effect.
Names have a psychic effect upon their owners and even upon
surroundings. The names of elementals and jinns, the sacred
names of God, and the holy names of the prophets and saints,
written according to the law of their numerical value, act as
a magical charm for the accomplishment of different objects
in life; and by the combination of such names written or repeated
in their numerical form wonders are performed.
Every letter either singly or when grouped in a word produces
a picture which tells its secret to the seer. For instance X
makes a cross and O zero, both of which have a meaning. The
alphabet used in modern times is a corruption of the original
ones, though the old Arabic and Persian writings which are found
on arches, walls, hems of garments, on brass vessels and carpets,
are of most perfect and beautiful design. A great symbolic significance
may be seen in the Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit and other ancient
scripts. Every line, dot and curve has a meaning. The ancients
used to write every name not with different letters but as a
picture signifying what they wished to express; the picture
was divided into different parts and each part was used to represent
a certain sound, and in this way the alphabets were made. By
this break the true picture was lost, but a certain likeness
may still be traced. Even in the present day, although we have
a most corrupted form of writing, still from the appearance
of a certain name, a person's life, fate or character maybe
read in whatever language it may be written. For instance a
name beginning with I shows a steadfast and righteous ego, uniqueness
and love of God and the pursuit of truth. E shows a shy and
backward nature and an interest in three directions.
As one letter makes a picture, in the same way a whole word
makes a picture. The idea of Allah has come from man and one
can read in the form of the hand the word 'Allah'.
The Christian name has a greater influence than the surname.
Sometimes a nickname has a still greater effect. The effect
of the name is according to its use; the more it is used the
greater the effect. Shortened names such as May for Mary, or
Bill or Willie for William lessen the effect of the name. The
names given by the Holy Ones have a double effect, that of the
name itself and that of the will of the one who gave it. Mawlabakhsh,
the greatest musician in India of his day, was given this name
by a faqir who was charmed on hearing his music; it means 'God
bless'. After taking this name he had success were he went and
was blessed with merit and reward, both of which are the rare
gifts of God.
There are many instances to be found where a change of name
has brought an entire change in a man's life. We read in the
Bible that the blessing of Jacob was the name Israel given to
him by the angel.
In the Quran, Muhammad is constantly addressed by a special
name, each name having its effect not only on the life of the
Prophet, but on his followers who adopted and worked mystically
with any of these names. Sufis have for ages experienced the
mystical value of these names. Among Sufis the Murshid gives
to his pupils the name 'Talib' or 'Mureed', which is to give
him in time the identity of the name.