The renowned scholar Ash-Shafi`ee said, “whoever wants to attain the worldly life, then he has to gain knowledge. And whoever wants the Hereafter, then he has to gain knowledge. And whoever wants both the Dunya and Akhira, then upon him is to seek knowledge.”
Islam places great emphasis on the importance of learning about Allah’s marvelous creation around us. Each person is to pursue and to try to excel in the field which sparks his/her interest; be it astronomy, human anatomy, physiology, the microscopic world of bacteria and viruses, psychology, or mechanics, the laws of physics, or mathematics. We are encouraged, in fact, we are commanded, to learn and to go after education, because it is with an education that we can truly serve humanity and become vicegerents on this Earth.
It is incumbent upon every Muslim to learn the pillars of Islam and the pillars of faith, and how to correctly perform the acts of worship. Muslims must learn their own rights, duties, and responsibilities towards their spouse, parents, children, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and society at large.
However, the noblest and most important of all is to know Allah.
When it comes to teaching our children about Islam, many of us, myself included, are so fervent and scrupulous when it comes to telling them about what they can and cannot do. Sadly, we fail to tell them more about the One who ordained these do’s and don’ts. Our children’s faith will not flourish and bloom if we restrict their understanding to only the halal and haram, and not taking them on the beautiful journey to truly know Allah, the Highest, the Great.
The first step to take is to learn the beautiful names and attributes of Allah.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “knowledge of the names of Allah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge.”
This branch of knowledge is not only enjoyable and delightful to learn, but it is also beneficial knowledge.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.” (Holy Qur’an 7:180)
“Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belongs the best names.” (Holy Qur’an 20:8)
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has said, “Allah has 99 names and whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim, 2677)
But, be aware that, as Shaikh Muhammad Rateb An-Nabulsi explains, to preserve the 99 Names of Allah does not simply mean that one can list all of the 99 Names. To preserve the names of Allah, as mentioned in the hadith, means to memorize them and understand their meanings. It also means that the worshiper uses the names of Allah when supplicating to Him, our Lord. These glorious names of Allah should have an impact on the believer’s heart, conduct, and worship. The ultimate goal of learning the names and attributes of Allah is to connect to Allah and to strive to acquire more desirable traits in our own character.
When you learn that Allah is Ar-Raheem, the All-Merciful, you remember to be merciful to the weak that Allah has placed under your care. Your heart overflows with mercy for others as you learn more and more about the vast mercy of Allah. If you truly understand and connect with Allah’s name, Al-Hakeem, the All-Wise, He may grant you more wisdom.
As you ponder more on the names and attributes of Allah, you are paving the way to a more disciplined self, a purified soul, and a content heart. The more you learn, the nearer you draw to Him and the more you love Him. When that love is alive in your heart, your obedience and worship will transform into that of a devout and pious worshipper. By sharing with our children this knowledge and teaching them about Allah’s names and what they mean, we are building a strong foundation for unwavering faith in Allah.
My family and I have created a set of cards with the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah. The cards can be used as flashcards or to play a memory game. Please visit Faithful Kid’s site here