VII. Al Asma ul Husna–The Ninety Nine Beautiful names of Allah
Allah’s are the fairest names. Invoke Him by them. Surah VII:180
In the Quran, Allah the Most HIgh, has described Himself with certain attributes that belong to Him and His Being only, such as Al Haqq – The Truth, Al Hayy – The Living One, Al Wadud – The Loving One, Al Hakim – The Perfectly Wise. He enumerates ninety nine of these qualities in His Quran for us to learn, to know and to experience in this life, right now and in the life to come. These are called Al Asma ul Husna or The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of Allah, with the understanding that these are not necessarily the only names that belong to Him, just that these are the ones He revealed to us in His Quran. There are more.
To gain close proximity to their Lord, Sufis seek to understand Allah by acquiring knowledge of these Names. This is done with the help of a Shaykh, much like a doctor would prescribe medicine for a patient.
From, Alternative Healing: the Sufi Way, by Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Ansari
Ya Haqq, O Truth. We can gain closer proximity to Allah by seeking The Truth. If we are not after the Truth we are after ourselves, our naf’s desires. When we are with our nafs we are further from Allah. So, in seeking Allah’s essence of Truth we gain His closeness. In order to know, to love, to see the Truth we use the faculties of the heart and the brain. The brain is the faculty of aql (knowledge, intelligence). The heart is the seat of Allah. In aligning the heart and the brain we can discern; discerning right from wrong, or if an action is pleasing to Allah or not. With discernment we can experience Truth. My Shaykh says, “in order to accept Truth you have to have an open mind”. Why? What if the Truth comes in a form that we didn’t expect, perhaps from a passing comment from an old man at the corner store, or from a scent of a flower, or from a piece of music. If the mind is closed we might miss an opportunity to experience Allah in this moment. With an open mind, aql, and an unobstructed heart (from our nafs) we are prepared to surrender to Ya Haqq.
Thanks be to Allah for the guidance of our teachers to help us fight our nafs, polish our hearts, open our minds and refine our intelligence. Surrender is more active than it sounds. 🙂