Indeed, All praise is for Allah; we praise Him, repent to Him, & seek His forgiveness and help. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves & of our wicked deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can lead astray; and whomsoever Allah leads astray, none can guide. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, and He has no partner; and I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His slave and Messenger. O Allah, send many prayers & salutations upon him, upon his family & his Companions, & upon those who follow them in goodness.
Belief in Allah’s Names & Attributes is one of the pillars of our beliefs in Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. For indeed, our beliefs in Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala consists of the following pillars:
Belief in His existence, belief in His Lordship, belief in His Godhood, and belief in His Names & Attributes. Furthermore, believing in the Oneness of Allah’s Names and Attributes is one of the three categories of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism): Tawheed of Lordship, Tawheed of worship, and Tawheed of Allah’s Names & Attributes.
Thus, the importance of properly understanding Allah’s Names and Attributes cannot be overstated. One cannot worship Allah in a correct and complete manner, until one acquires knowledge if the meanings and significance of Allah’s Names and Attributes. Only when one gains that knowledge, can one worship Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa based on wisdom and clarity. Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa said:
وَلِلَّـهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
“And (all) the Most beautiful names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them”[Qur’an, 07:180]
“So call on Him by them” means invoking Him by then Name or Attribute which is appropriate to the invocation you are supplicating. For instance, you might say,”O,Oft-Forgiving One, forgive me” or “O, Most Merciful One, have mercy on me” or “O, All Protector, protect me” and so on.
Invoking Allah as an act of worship means the following:
For you to perform acts of worship that are in accordance with His Names. For instance, you repent to Him, because He is the Acceptor of Repentance. You mention Him with your tongue, because He is All-Hearing. You worship Him with your limbs, because He is All-Seeing. You fear him in private, because He is All-Knowing.
Because of the importance of Allah’s Name s& Attributes, and because some people, either in ignorance or through blind following, have an erroneous understanding of His Names and Attributes, I wanted to write a book which contains important principles that, if followed, will help us develop a sound understanding of the meanings and significance of Allah’s Names & Attributes. I hope that Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa will make this work of mine something that is sincerely for His Countenance, that is in harmony with His Good Pleasure, and that is a source of benefit for His slaves. I have titled it, Excellent Principles in regard to Allah’s Beautiful Names and Attributes.
Muhammad As-Salih Al-‘Uthaimeen
(May Allah forgive him, his parents & All Muslims)