The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one. He who memorises them all by heart will enter Paradise."
[Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 489]
Woooo! found and easy shortcut to Paradise!
I can remember WAY over 100 Arsenal player's names from the last few years, as well as what position they played, probably even their squad numbers, and remember which games they scored important goals in etc etc etc.
And I can remember WAY over 100 singers/artists/bands from my iTunes, along with being able to recognise their songs and which album each song is from etc etc etc
AND I can even remember loads of people I've met throughout my life; from school, college, uni, and at various work places and parties.. I can even remember which of my friends introduced them to me and how they all feel about each other, so much so that there is a complex web-thingy in my head; almost as complicated as Eastenders with about the same amount of drama.
Which reminds me... I can even remember dozens (probably close to a hundred) of characters from Eastenders even though I haven't really watched it in at least 10 years!
It is true that the mind is a terrible thing.
... to waste! A terrible thing to waste. Is all the above a waste? I'm not really sure. It's not as if I've spent hours studying, TRYING to memorise such info. It sort of entered my brain using osmosis or tunneled its way through my skull or... I'm getting carried away. There's probably a very simple explanation. Its not like people have ever had problems understanding exactly how the brain or mind work.
Anyway, imagine how easy (not to mention important or beneficial) it would be to remember the names of Allah (swt). In fact, there's one already!
It feels nice to say out loud. A pleasing vibration on my tongue.
In fact, come to think of it, I can remember more than one of His (swt) names just off the top of my head! I use some of them every day (or at least I should).
But hold on, it can't be that easy, can it? There was a time when I used to not believe in Allah. Yet I still knew the word. I even knew Muslims worshipped it (I think).
But I can't say that I knew what the word meant or what it represented. So: even though I knew the WORD 'Allah', I can't really say that I knew the NAME 'Allah'.
Still with me?
echo... (echo... (echo...))
Either way, over time (I think) I've started to get to know Allah (swt) more and more, and in doing so I've started to know His name better too.
For example: in the Arabic language, the word Allah (literally 'The God') cannot be made masculine nor feminine. That means there isn't an equivalent 'The Goddess' (with capital letters) and God doesn't mean an old man with a beard. Or any man. Or any facial hair for that matter.
It's also impossible (languagely) to make the word into a plural. So, even though in English we can simply add an 's' and make 'The Gods', you can't do it in Arabic. And not only because you aren't a professor of Arabic.. Even if you were, you wouldn't be able to.
So the name 'Allah' is special. That also explains why it is more correct to call Allah (swt) by this name than the English translation of it.
But there is WAY more that can be said about Allah (swt). In fact, the best way to find out about Him, is to learn about his other names, because they are all properties that He holds.
This is going to be more than just learning the words off by heart (insha'Allah). Learning the NAMES means learning what they mean, what the implications of this are, and how we can put that information into our lives.
Which is what I aim to do.
So, why am I publishing this online? is it some vain vanity? Or will it all be in vain (I have no real idea what 'vain' means, but fortunately that isn't the aim of this blog).
Well, I need support, and I'm likely to come up with stuff that is incorrect or missing important information. Plus the more people involved the more likely it is to continue.
I will (insha'Allah) be going through the names, in (not much but some) detail, and trying to LEARN them properly if I can. I may never finish this, but my hope is that even by starting I will encourage myself and maybe even perhaps others.
Is it really a shortcut to Paradise?
No idea. I think that we can't say we've memorised any of the names unless we implement something from them into our life.
For example. The meaning of the name 'Allah' is tied up in the first part of the shahada:
la ilaha ilAllah
so knowledge of His name, it could be said, is only possible when we recognise that as being True.
By believing in and reciting the shahada on our tongues and in our hearts, it (perhaps) means that we have truly memorised the NAME 'Allah".
He (swt) knows best.