Praise be to Allaah.
Knowing the Beautiful Names of Allaah is very important
indeed, for the following reasons:
Knowledge of Allaah and His Names and Attributes is the noblest and best
of all knowledge, because the level of honour of any kind of knowledge has to do with the
object of knowledge, and the object of knowledge in this case is Allaah, may He be
glorified and exalted, through His Names, Attributes and Deeds. Occupying oneself with
seeking this knowledge and studying it properly is the pursuit of the highest objective,
and acquiring this knowledge is one of the best gifts a person may be given. Because the
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained it very clearly and was
very keen to do so, the Sahaabah never disputed in this matter as they did over some of
the rulings (ahkaam).
Knowing Allaah makes a person love and fear Him, and put his hope in
Him, and be sincere towards Him in his actions. This is the essence of human happiness.
There is no way to know Allaah except by knowing His Most Beautiful Names and seeking a
proper understanding of their meanings.
Knowing Allaah by His Most Beautiful Names increases ones faith,
as Shaykh Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Sadi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Believing in and knowing the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah includes the three types
of Tawheed: Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Unity of Divine Lordship), Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah
(Unity of the Divine Nature) and Tawheed al-Asma wal-Sifaat (Unity of the
Divine Names and Attributes). These three types of Tawheed form the essence and joy of
faith (the word translated here as joy implies peace and relief from stress),
and this knowledge is the basis and purpose of faith. The more a person learns about the
Names and Attributes of Allaah, the more his faith increases and the stronger his
conviction becomes. (Al-Tawdeeh wal-Bayaan li Shajarat al-Eemaan
by al-Sadi, p. 41).
Allaah created His creatures to know Him and worship Him. This is what
is expected from them and what they are required to do, because as Ibn al-Qayyim (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said: The key to the call of the Messengers, the essence
of their Message, is knowing Allaah through His Names and Attributes and Deeds, because
this is the foundation on which the rest of the Message, from beginning to end, is
built. (Al-Sawaaiq al-Mursalah ala al-Jahamiyyah
wal-Muattilah by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/150-151). So when a
person occupies himself with learning about Allaah, he is doing what he was created for,
but if he ignores the matter, he is neglecting what he was created for. The meaning of
faith is not merely to utter words without knowing Allaah, because true faith in Allaah
means that the slave knows the Lord in Whom he believes, and he makes the effort to learn
about Allaah through His Names and Attributes. The more he learns about his Lord, the more
he increases in faith.
Knowledge of the Names of Allaah is the basis for all other knowledge,
as Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Knowledge of the Most
Beautiful Names of Allaah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge, for the objects of
all these other branches of knowledge were either created or commanded by Him (the various
branches of knowledge either deal with objects created by Him or with the laws and
guidance revealed by Him). The reason for creation and guidance is found in His Most
Beautiful Names (because He is the Creator, He creates things; because He is the Guide to
the Straight Path, He reveals guidance, and so on)
Knowing the Most Beautiful Names
is the basis of all objects of knowledge, because all knowledge stems from these
(Badai' al-Fawaaid by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/163).
From the book Asma’ Allaah al-Husnaa, pp. 6-8.