The meaning of the name: Allah

Allah He is the Lord, the One who is worshiped, the One deserving of being singled out for worship due to the Perfect Godly attributes that He is described with [Ibn Uthaymin]

In all languages we have names which are proper nous, names which are essentially known to be titles given to people and these names may or may not have a specific meaning.

Like in the English language, the names Bob, John and Robert do not have any meanings and even in Arabic many proper names don’t have any meanings either like Khadejah, Sufyaan, Ibraheem etc.

But then you have names which have meanings like the name Muhammed which means the one who is praised frequently. So in Arabic names are ether [Mushtaq] derived from certain roots [3 basic letters] like Muhammed Saalih or [Gir-Mushtaq] non derived i.e Bob, Sue, Khadejah, Sufyaan etc. A name is either based upon a basic root word thus has meaning or is it a name that has no particular meaning rather is just a title.

Is the name Allah, Mushtaq or Gir-Mushtaq?

There is iktelaaf on this issue but the stronger view is that it is [Mushtaq] it’s a derived noun. It comes from a root word, thus it has an original meaning to it. So what is this original meaning and where is it derived from?

The word Allah is derived from the verb a-le-ah. There are a number of meanings for this verb [a-le-ha] we will concentrate on a few.

1. A word that reflexes perplexion, when someone is confused, startled

There is a certain aspect of perplexion and confusion that is particular to the name of Allah and that is due to the greatness of Allah. So this not a perplexion and confusion based on doubt rather amazement.  Allah is so great the human mind cannot comprehend the nature of Allah; we cannot appreciate His qualities and perfection. And so if a person was to reflect over Allah and his greatness he will be startled/ perplexed.

So the idea is Allah is the one who is so great and beyond our comprehension that if you were to try and think about Allah it would be too much for us.

The messenger of Allah said ‘Reflect over the bounties of Allah but don’t reflect over Allah [Himself]’[Hadith bayhaqi]

2. al-ma’buud; the One who is worshiped

The one who deserves All worship and obedience. The One deserving of being singled out for worship.

3. To yearn for or to desire something

Allah is the One who the hearts yearn for and desire. This is because Allah created the fitra [natural disposition] of man to recognize the existence of this Creator and because Allah has created our soul with this internal recognition, naturally we will have a yearning for Him.

Allah has created the soul with many inclinations. E.g. Eating and drinking exists in every human being.  And so Allah has inscribed in our souls lailahaillallah and this is evident from the ayah of the covenant.


”And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.” [A’raaf: 172]

This covenant even though we cannot remember it, it is something that we have experienced and as a result it has been inscribed into our souls. So our hearts naturally have this yearning for Allah and this is why when a believer truly recognizes his need for Allah and recognizes he needs to satisfy this spiritual vacuum that he has by knowing more about Allah that is when he has tasted the sweetness of Emaaan.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Anas (ra) is that he said: “Allah’s Messenger  said: “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness of faith: (i) The one to whom Allah and His Messenger  are more loved than anything else…

Meaning if you fill this spiritual vacuum that is within yourself you will taste the sweetness of Emaaan. It was said, “How pitiful, the worldly people! They leave this life without ever having tasted the sweetest thing in it.” When asked what that was, he replied, “The love of Allah, the knowledge of Allah and the remembrance of Allah.”

If you truly know Allah then you have reached a level of spirituality that none one else can reach.

The greatest name of Allah

Many Ulamaa are of the view that the greatest name of Allah is Allah.


And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them… A’raaf 180

So we say ar-Rahman is the name of Allah, al-Malik is the name of Allah etc but not the other way round. This is the name of His from which all other names follow on as occurs in His saying…


Allah, to whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And woe to the disbelievers from a severe punishment. [Ibrahim 2]

2_255Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede In His presence except As he permitteth? He knoweth What (appeareth to His creatures As) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of his knowledge Except as He willeth. His throne doth extend Over the heavens And on earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding And preserving them, For He is the Most High. The Supreme (in glory).” [Baqarah 2: 255]

Again and again we see all of these perfect attributes are referring to the Name Allah.

The Differences Between saying YA-Allah and Allahumma

When we want to call out to Allah we say YA-Allah and Allahumma … But what’s the difference? The difference is we have change the order of YA-Allah i.e. we want to put Allah at the beginning and YA at the end but then it becomes [Allah-hu-ya], now why would someone want to that? Because a person feels a sense of urgency to call out to Allah, the urge is so great the servant doesn’t even want to say YA at the beginning; he wants to say Allah 1st and thus leaves the YA to the end. But in the Arabic language we substitute the YA for a MIM to indicate that that was originally a YA.


This is not complete. Not even close. This beautiful name. InshaaAllah it will suffice for now. I will update in the near future.

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2 Responses to The meaning of the name: Allah

  1. Pingback: 1:1 All Hamd is due to Allah, Rabb of Everything… | ContemplateQuran

  2. Pingback: ALHAMDULILAH | ContemplateQuran

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