Distorting Names of Allah

On 14 December 2012 Friday, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Abdur-Rahmaan Malik, visited India. The media started broadcasting the news item regarding this visit a few days prior to the arrival of the minister while calling his name as ‘Rahmaan Malik’ instead of Abdur-Rahmaan Malik. Suddenly, All India Radio broadcast the same news while calling the minister as ‘Mr. Abdur-Rahmaan Malik’ a day prior to his arrival. However, the minister was again named as ‘Rahmaan Malik’ by the media during his three-day stay in India.

As per the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an, it is imperative upon the servants of Allah Almighty that they must have to honour the names of their Lord. The Holy Qur’an says in Surah A’laa verse 1: “Pronounce the purity of the name of your Most Exalted Lord”. There are some names exclusively meant for Allah; calling human beings or any other creation by those specific names is strictly prohibited in Islamic Shari’ah. Nowadays, people are not particular about names like ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, Abdur-Razzaaq, ‘Abdul-Gaffaar and ‘Abdul-Quddoos. They call the persons bearing these names ‘Rahmaan’, ‘Razzaaq’, ‘Gaffaar’, ‘Quddoos’ and so on, for short. People have got into the habit of shortening such names without realizing that the speakers as well as the listeners are committing a sin. People commit this joyless sin day and night without any reason.

Qur’anic warning against such practice In Surah Al-A’raaf verse 180 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala says:

“And for Allah there are the most beautiful names. So, call Him by them, and leave those who deviate in (the matter of) His names. They shall be recompensed for what they have been doing”. In this verse, people have been warned against the practice of distorting or deviating from the prescribed names of Allah. There are many forms of deviating from the prescribed names of Allah. And one of them is to use any of the good names of Allah for other people. This however, has some exceptions as explained in the following lines:

There are certain names in the list of the glorious names of Allah which have been used by the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah for human beings. Such names can be used for beings other than Allah. For example, Raheem, Rasheed, Ali, Kareem and Azeez etc., while there are other names which denote to exclusive attributes of Allah. Their use for any one other than Allah is an act of deviation from these names.

For example, Rahmaan, Razzaaq, Subhaan, Khaaliq, Quddoos and Gaffaar etc. Using such names for any one other than Allah is prohibited in the Islamic Shari’ah.

Now, if some one calls any one other than Allah by these names because of his false belief, that he has the attributes denoted by these names it would be an act of infidelity. However, if some one used any of these names for any one other than Allah just heedlessly and for the lack of knowledge, it would not be an act of infidelity, but having similarities with it would be called a major sin.

The high ranking and renowned scholar of Islam, Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib Alaihirrahmah, says in his Ma’ariful-Qur’an: “More doleful practice among Muslims is to heedlessly curtail the Islamic names like ‘Abdul-Khaaliq, ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, ‘Abdur-Razzaaq or ‘Abdul-Quddoos etc. to Khaaliq, Rahmaan, Razzaaq and Quddoos when calling people of these names. The attributes Khaaliq (The Creator) Rahmaan (The Merciful) Razzaaq (The Sustainer) and Quddoos (The Pure) are all exclusive attributes of Allah and using these attributes for any one other than Allah is a major sin. The number of times one calls any one by these attributes only commits a major sin every time and becomes liable of great punishment”.

“This sinful practice has become quite common among Muslims for no gain. They have been committing this sinful act simply for being thoughtless to the gravity of this error. The verse 180 of Surah Al-A’raaf has warned against it by saying: They shall soon be recompensed for what they have been doing”.

“Many evils are committed for certain worldly gains or benefits. Any one committing such evil deed may pretend to offer an excuse that being constrained by some necessity he had committed the sin, while a great number of evil deeds are simply of no avail, and produce no worldly benefit at all. It is a sad situation that people are seen committing such evil deeds just for being careless of the commandments of Allah and being indifferent to what is prohibited or permitted by Allah. May Allah save us from such ignorance”.

The author, Fayyaz Ahmad Zarroo, is the director of Islamic Da’wah Centre (IDC) Chattabal Srinagar Kashmir.

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