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Appendix C

Origin of this list of Beautiful Names

The list of 99 Beautiful Names as described on this page is one of the most commonly available lists of 99 Beautiful Names which have been given to us by Islamic tradition. Many of the most widely circulated lists of the Beautiful Names are nearly identical, often differing by only one or two Names.

The Qur'ān does not specify any particular list of Beautiful Names or any particular number of Beautiful Names... the various lists of Beautiful Names have been given to us as tools to help us keep the glory of Allah in constant remembrance through the use of these convenient and well-known lists of Beautiful Names.

The Qur'ān planted the seeds for awareness of the Beautiful Names by mentioning the concept of the Beautiful Names in the following verses:

Call upon Allāh or call upon Rahmān:
by whatever name ye call upon Him (it is well):
for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.
                                                               Qur'ān 17:110, tr Yusuf Ali


The Most Beautiful names belong to Allah:
so call on Him by them

                                                               Qur'ān 7:180, tr Yusuf Ali


Allah! there is no god but He!
To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.

                                                               Qur'ān 20:8, tr Yusuf Ali

He is Allah the Creator the Evolver
the Bestower of Forms (or colors).
To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names:
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth doth
declare His Praises and Glory:

                                                                Qur'ān 59:24  tr Yusuf Ali

The various lists of 99 Beautiful Names are largely based on Divine Names and Attributes which are specifically mentioned in the Qur'ān.  However, there are Names mentioned in the Qur'ān which are missing from the traditional lists (such as al-Mawla (master), an-Nasir (protector), al-Ghalib (victor), al-Qarib (close), ar-Rabb (lord) and al-Fatir (creator)), while there are Names in the traditional lists that are not used in the Qur'ān as Names of Allāh (such as ar-Rashid, al-Baqi, ad-Darr, al-Mudhill, and an-Nafi). 

The lists of 99 Beautiful Names are known as mudraj, meaning inserted, interpolated or included in, which is to say that the list of Names is not specified in the Qur'ān, or in any reliable hadith, but rather they have been included in Islamic thought as an aid to our spiritual understanding and divine remembrance.

Although there are several different versions of the Abu Hurayrah narration given in the hadith, each with a slightly different list of Names, the following version transmitted by Tirmidhi  is the source of the list of Beautiful Names used on this web site:

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Allah Most High has ninety-nine names. He who retains them in his memory will enter Paradise. He is Allah, other than whom there is no god, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the King, the Holy, the Source of Peace, the Preserver of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Overpowering, the Great in Majesty, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Forgiver, the Dominant, the Bestower, the Provider, the Decider, the Knower, the Withholder, the Plentiful Giver, the Abaser, the Exalter, the Honorer, the Humiliator, the Hearer, the Seer, the Judge, the Just, the Gracious, the Informed, the Clement, the Incomparably Great, the Forgiving, the Rewarder, the Most High, the Most Great, the Preserver, the Sustainer, the Reckoner, the Majestic, the Generous, the Watcher, the Answerer, the Liberal, the Wise, the Loving, the Glorious, the Raiser, the Witness, the Real, the Trustee, the Strong, the Firm, the Patron, the Praiseworthy, the All-Knowing, the Originator, the Restorer to Life, the Giver of Life, the Giver of Death, the Living, the Eternal, the Self-sufficient, the Grand, the One, the Single, He to Whom men repair, the Powerful, the Prevailing, the Advancer, the Delayer, the First, the Last, the Outward, the Inward, the Governor, the Sublime, the Amply Beneficent, the Accepter of Repentance, the Avenger, the Pardoner, the Kindly, the Ruler of the Kingdom, the Lord of Majesty and Splendor, the Equitable, the Gatherer, the Independent, the Enricher, the Depriver, the Harmer, the Benefactor, the Light, the Guide, the First Cause, the Enduring, the Inheritor, the Director, the Patient."


Here is an excerpt from An Introduction to the Science of Hadeeth by Dr Suhaib Hasan that explains some of the history of this tradition in more detail:

The following is the sahih [authentic, reliable] hadith of al- Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn 'Asakir:

"Verily, Allah has Ninety-Nine Names which if a person safeguards them, he will enter the Garden."

In some narrations of this hadith found in al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others, the names are listed at the end; however, at least three different listings are given, e.g. one list being, "He is Allah, besides whom there is no other deity, the Merciful, the Compassionate, ..., the Forbearing" while another is "Allah, the Unique, the Absolute, ..., the One who has nothing like unto Him."

It is agreed that these latter narrations are da'if [weak, unreliable], and this is why al-Bukhari and Muslim did not include them in their Sahihs. Al-Tirmidhi says in his Sunan,

"This (version of the) hadith is gharib [unusual, scarce]; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one."

Ibn Taimiyyah says,

 "Al-Walid (one of the narrators of the hadith) related the Names from (the saying of) one of his Syrian teachers ... specific mention of the Names is not from the words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), by the agreement of those familiar with Hadith."

Ibn Kathir says in his Tafsir, under verse 180 of Surah al- A'raf, that these narrations are mudraj [interpolated]. Ibn Hajar takes a similar view in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari.

Various scholars, including Ja'far al- Sadiq, Sufyan b. 'Uyainah, Ibn Hazm, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Hajar and Salih b. 'Uthaimin, have given different lists of 99 Names based on their own study of the Qur'an and Sunnah.