‘Allah’ can be said to be a central concept in Quran, with 2699 occurences of the word within its pages. When we develop our understanding of Allah, we will understand the very purpose of our lives as well Allah’s role in it. The descriptions of Allah are often called ‘most beautiful names’ (al-asmaa al-husna). These names are Traditionally ninety-nine in number butthat depends on how one looks at what constitutes a ‘name’. In any case, they do not all appear in equal numbers. Some chapters have bigger varieties of names than others. Furthermore, some chapters have names specific or even to unique to themselves. This tells us a lot about those chapter as well as those names.
In this essay, we will look at the longest description of Allah in Quran. This occurs at the end of Ch 59 (Al-Hashr). Let us take a look at the verses in question:
He is Allah , other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem.
He is Allah , other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.
He is Allah , the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59/22-24)
In this essay, we will not analyse the semantic of the names themselves but rather the general overview of the passage:
1. This passage occurs at the end of Ch 59. There is an opening passage focussing on Allah’s names in Ch 57. It could be said that this forms a three chapter bracket. These three chapters (57, 58, 59) could be read as a closed system. They also form a part of the tasbeeh block (Ch 57-64).
- Ch 59/22 is one of the four verses (other verse zeroes) which has the name Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. This shows the uniqueness of this passage.
3. Ch 59/23 is about Allah’s role in terms of power and might. This would tell us something about His system which is to enshrine those attributes.
- Ch 59/23 is about Allah’s role in terms of creation. This also tells us something about His system which is encapsulated in the passage as well as three chapters (57-59).
- Ch 59/21 which precedes this passage talks about the entire Quran descending upon a mountain. This links the entire Quran to the system of peace and justice which precees it as well as to our passage in question , 59/22-24.