al-A`raf 7:180; al-Hashr 59:22-24,

Tradition says that memorizing the 99 most beautiful names of Allah almost assures a person of Paradise:

"Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger said: 'There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory will get into Paradise. Truly, Allah is Odd (he is One) and He loves odd numbers." (Hadith Muslim: Book of Remembrance of All (Kitab Al-Dhikr) 6475, quoted by Kerry Brown and Martin Palmer, ed., The Essential Teachings of Islam, Arrow Books, 1990, p. 9. See also Sahih Bukhari 3.894)

However, the Qur'an knows actually many more than 99 names or titles for God. This is evidenced in the following excerpt of a book review by Dr. Christine Schirrmacher of a German work by the author Djafari:

Hamid Molla Djafari. Gott hat die schönsten Namen ... Islamische Gottesnamen, ihre Bedeutung, Verwendung und Probleme ihrer Übersetzung [God has the most beautiful names. God's names in Islam, their meaning, use, and problems with their translation]. Peter Lang: Frankfurt 2001, 357 pages

In the Koran we read: "The most beautiful names belong to Allah. So call on him by them" (surah 7:180). "The most beautiful names" are understood by Muslim theologians as names and attributes of God which are used during prayer, Sufi-meditation or while saying the rosary. God's names are important as God has not revealed himself in Islam, as Muslim theologians hold, but has only sent down his Holy Book, the Koran. In the Koran, we read about his attributes and how he dealt with mankind in history. In folk Islam, people believe that God has 99 names, whereas the 100th name is hidden to the believer. In the Koran, we find more than 99 names; therefore, Muslim theologians have composed long lists of God's attributes differing from each other. For this reason, Molla-Djafari can give a list of about 200 names. He analyses them linguistically, describes when they are used and interprets their meanings in order to correct former "wrong" translations, as he emphasizes. By and then, Molla-Djafari leaves his scientific approach aside ... Nevertheless, the book is worth reading as it lists the "most beautiful names of God" like the "Merciful", the "Gracious", the "Forgiver", the "Pardoner" beside names for Allah like "the Humiliator", "the Tormentor", "the Torturer", and "the best of Planners and Plotters" (ChSch). (Source: Islam und Christlicher Glaube (1/2002), Institut für Islamfragen)

The are several, somewhat different lists of "Ninety-Nine Names" circulating. One common listing is given by Brown and Palmer as follows:

1. Allah
2. The Compassionate (al-Rahman)
3. The Merciful (al-Rahim)
4. The King/Sovereign (al-Malik)
5. The Holy (al-Quddus)
6. The Source of Peace (al-Salam)
7. The Giver of Faith (al-Mu'min)
8. The Overall Protector (al-Muhaimin)
9. The Strong (al-`Aziz)
10. The Almighty (al-Jabbar)
11. The Majestic (al-Mutakabbir)
12. The Creator (al-Khaliq)
13. The Maker (al-Bari')
14. The Fashioner (al-Musawwir)
15. The Great Forgiver (al-Ghaffar)
16. The Dominant (al-Qahhar)
17. The Bestower (al-Wahhab)
18. The Provider (al-Razzaq)
19. The Opener, The Reliever (al-Fattah)
20. The All-Knowing (al-`Alim)
21. The Restrainer, The Withholder (al-Qabid)
22. The Extender (al-Basit)
23. The Humbler (al-Khafid)
24. The Exalter (al-Rafi`)
25. The Empowerer (al-Mu`izz)
26. The Humiliator (al-Mudhill)
27. The All-Hearing, The Hearer (al-Sami`)
28. The All-Seeing (al-Basir)
29. The Judge (al-Hakam)
30. The Just (al-`Adl)
31. The Kindly One (al-Latif)
32. The Gracious, The Aware (al-Khabir)
33. The Clement, The Forbearing (al-Halim)
34. The Mighty (al-`Azim)
35. The Forgiving (al-Ghafur)
36. The Grateful, The Appreciative (al-Shakur)
37. The High, The Sublime (al-`Aliyy)
38. The Great (al-Kabir)
39. The Preserver (al-Hafiz)
40. The Protector, The Guardian, The Feeder, The Sustainer (al-Muqit)
41. The Reckoner (al-Hasib)
42. The Sublime One (al-Jali)
43. The Bountiful, The Gracious (al-Karim)
44. The Watcher, The Watchful (al-Raqib)
45. The Responsive, The Hearkener (al-Mujib)
46. The Infinite, The All-Embracing (al-Wasi`)
47. The Wise (al-Hakim al-Mutlaq)
48. The Loving (al-Wadud)
49. The Glorious (al-Majid)
50. The Resurrector (al-Ba`ith)
51. The Witness (al-Shahid)
52. The True (al-Haqq)
53. The Advocate (al-Wakil)
54. The Most Strong (al-Qawiyy)
55. The Firm (al-Matin)
56. The Patron (al-Waliyy)
57. The Praiseworthy (al-Hamid)
58. The Numberer (al-Muhsi)
59. The Commencer (al-Mubdi)
60. The Restorer (al-Mu`id)
61. The Giver of Life (al-Muhyi)
62. The One Who Gives Death (al-Mumit)
63. The Living One (al-Hayy)
64. The Self-Subsisting (al-Qayyum)
65. The Perceiver (al-Wajid)
66. The One (al-Wahid)
67. The Independent (al-Samad)
68. The Powerful (al-Qadir)
69. The Dominant (al-Muqtadir)
70. The Giver (al-Muqaddim)
71. The Retarder (al-Mu'akhkhir)
72. The First (al-Awwal)
73. The Last (al-Akhir)
74. The Manifest (al-Zahir)
75. The Hidden (al-Batin)
76. The Governor (al-Wali)
77. The High Exalted (al-Muta`ali)
78. The Righteous (al-Barr)
79. The Relenting (al-Tawwab)
80. The Forgiver (al-`Afuww)
81. The Avenger (al-Muntaquim)
82. The Compassionate (al-Ra'uf)
83. The Ruler of the Kingdom (Malik al-Mulk)
84. The Lord of Majesty and Bounty (Dhu'l-Jalal wa'l-Ikram)
85. The Equitable (al-Muqsit)
86. The Gatherer, The Collector (al-Jami`)
87. The Self-Sufficient (al-Ghani)
88. The Enricher (al-Mughni)
89. The Bestower (al-Mu`ti)
90. The Withholder (al-Mani`)
91. The Propitious (al-Nafi`)
92. The Distresser (al-Darr)
93. The Light (al-Nur)
94. The Guide (al-Hadi)
95. The Eternal (al-Azali)
96. The Everlasting (al-Baqi)
97. The Heir (al-Warith)
98. The Guide to the Right Path (al-Rashid)
99. The Patient (al-Sabur)

(Source: Brown and Palmer, op. cit., pp. 9-11)

A Muslim webpage with explanations of the 99 names: The Divine Names

Go Back to Main Index