- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Conscious Discovery of Names of God - Invoking the Blessings of God
THE BEAUTIFUL NAMES OF GOD
EVER since the pandemic has happened, quite a few acquaintances have called me to find out which name of God should they recite often to protect themselves from Coronavirus. This led me to think about the prevalent culture of chanting the names of God or verses from the Quran as solutions to problems. I present here the spirit behind calling upon God by His names.
Calling upon God is a great form of worship. According to a Hadith (record of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet), calling upon God or supplication is the kernel of worship. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
It is an act of very personal nature. Everyone has to pray for themselves, just as everyone has to perform their own worship. According to chapter Prostration of the Quran, this is one of the virtues of a believer: they forsake their beds calling upon their Lord in fear and hope. (32: 16)
The general concept regarding the names of God is that they are some mysterious words. It is believed that some miraculous effect is hidden in these words and our task is only to remember and recite them repeatedly. And then mysteriously we will receive miraculous benefits. This is what people think of divine names.
This is not the right understanding. The names of God are in no way mysterious words. They represent a known and meaningful reality. It is a blessing which can be fully explained rationally.
God’s names, known as Asma-e-Husna in Arabic, are the known doors of God’s mercy. These doors have been opened, as we learn from the Quran, so that man may discover them and passing through them may reach the mercy of God in this world. Asma-e-Husna are like the gates of the divine mercy. They are the means of connecting us to God. They are a God-given key to God-realization which awaken our hearts and minds and take us from darkness to light.
It is very important to understand the spirit behind calling out to God with His names. It is a fact that a human being is a truth-seeking being by nature. Very soon there awakens within him a feeling that some superior being must exist who will grant him the light of guidance. At that moment he calls out, “O God of guidance, grant me guidance by Your special mercy.”
In this present world, man repeatedly faces such situations in which he feels himself helpless. At that time, under the influence of his latent feelings, he wants to call upon a superior being. Then of the best names he finds a divine name of the Superior Being such as relates to that particular situation in which he finds himself and with that in mind, he calls out, “O God, You alone are my helper, help me in all ways possible.”
Take another situation where one fears some danger, then one may call upon God in these words: Al Wali, which means a protecting friend. Thus, a person would call out thus: “O Protecting Friend, protect me from what I fear.”
One should discover the attributes of God and call upon Him with the attribute. Such calling will instill the faith and trust in the person calling out to God that God is all powerful and the owner of the attribute which he is in need of.
One should discover the attributes of God and call upon Him with the attribute which will invoke God’s mercy for the situation he is in. Such calling will instill the faith and trust in the person calling out to God that God is all powerful and the owner of the attribute which he is in need of. It is not about chanting, it is about understanding and discovering the attribute and beseeching God to help us in a particular situation.
Prof. Farida Khanam email@example.com