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Ismul Jalaalah: The Grand Name

September 10, 2008


Ismul Jalaalah, The Grand Name: Allah الله. This is Allah’s Personal Name. His Identifying Name. This Name only belongs to Allah, no one else can have besides Allah. Allah is the Title, the Name, of the One True Ilaah. The Name of Allah, you cannot play around with: there is no plural, there is no feminine. The Name Allah appears over 3000 times in the Qur’an.

When we mentioned the Name “Allah” linguistically, we don’t say “the word Allah” or “the Name Allah” because it is not appropriate. It is only for Allah ta’ala, so we say: Lafdhul Jalaalah, لفظ الجلالة، the word that is Grand.

There are 4 opinions of the linguistic meaning of lafdhul Jalaalah:

  1. The first opinion is that it is Allah’s Proper Name and it is not derived from any root, any noun, and has no meaning to it. It is just a Name that has no meaning to it, and this opinion is the minority opinion.
  2. The second opinion is that it comes from hamza-laam-ha, and the verb from the root is a-li-ha ََََاَلِهَ and it means to astonish, surprise and amaze someone. So Allah, from aliha, is the One who Astonishes and Amazes His Creation. How? Firstly through His Attributes, when you know about Allah, you are amazed. He is Ar Rahmaan (The All Merciful), and yet Al Azeez (The Mighty) and yet Al Jabbaar (The Compellor) all at the same time, it’s amazing! When you know about the Names and Attributes, you are astonished and impressed. Another way how Allah amazes us is through His creation, all that He has created. When we learn about a bird or an ant, we are amazed and we say SubhanAllah (How Perfect is Allah and Far from any imperfection!), because Allah is truly Amazing and He Amazes His creation. Also, He amazes through His Decisions, Words, Rulings, Actions and Planning for us. When things don’t work out the way we planned, or we see great coincidences, we think: how did this happen?! It is Allah, He amazes us by His words and decisions for us. When we practice the ahkaam (rulings), we realize how much benefit there is in them. So truly He is the One who should be submitted too.
  3. The third opinion is that it is from the same root, hamza laam ha, and the noun is al-la-ha اَلَهَ with a fathah (not li, with a kasrah, as the second opinion) and alaha means to worship, be humble and show dedication to someone. The noun would be ma’looh. Allah is Ma’looh: One who is shown dedication too, One who everyone is humble too, One who is worshipped. Everyone is humble to Allah, and on the Day of Judgment the Mulk (Sovereignty) is only for Allah ta’ala. We also learn from this that Allah is the Only One we should show humbleness too, we should be ‘ebaad, servants, to Allah. In surah Furqaan ayah 43, Allah tells us: أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ ara ayta man ittakhatha ilaahahu hawaahu, have you seen the one who takes his desires as his ilaah? This ayah shows us the meaning of taking something as your ilaah, God. It meant that they gave their desires the utmost priority and everything else became unimportant and secondary. Their ilaah is the one whom the person never turns down. It became what they loved and feared the most. Allah is the One we should love most, fear most and give the most importance too. According to some linguists (ibn Manthoor of Sibawyh) this opinion is the strongest. Furthermore, when you attach ‘al’ with aliha and alaha, it becomes al-Ilaah, and that becomes Allah. According to this definition this translation would be: The One Only Worthy of worship, Allah is the Only One worthy of worship. Notice: even His Name has tawheed in it, so how can there be other beings attached to Allah?!
  4. The last opinion is that this word is from wow-laam-ha, the noun wilaah وِلَه comes. (the way you write ilaah, write a wow instead of hamzah/alif) Wilaah then turns to ilaah (based on an Arabic grammar rule), so wilaah means to turn to for protection. So Allah is the One Whom everyone turns to for help and protection. The One whose help and assistance is sought by the creation. This teaches us in times of difficulty and hardship, we turn to Allah azza wa jal, because the Name of Allah is the One whom ppl turn to for help and worship.

Review of the 4 opinions:

i.      There is no meaning, just a Proper Name

ii.      From aliha meaning to astonish and amazes, so Allah is the One who Astonishes the creation by His attributes, His creation, His Planning and His Rulings.

iii.      Allah is from alaha, so Allah is Ma’looh, One who is Worshipped.

iv.      Fourth opinion is from wilaah, so Allah means the One whom everyone turns to for help.

اسم الله الاعظم-Ismul Allahil A’tham: mentioned in hadeeth in Sunan Tirmidhi (saheeh): “To Allah belongs a Grand Name (Ismul A’tham), that, if you make du’a with it, it will be responded to. And if you plead or request with it, it shall be answered.” Several opinions on what this Name is, read Yasir Qadhi’s explanation here. Majority of the scholars say it is the Name “Allah” itself, that this is His Greatest Name. When a person makes duaa through this Name, it will be responded too.

wa Allahu ta’ala alam.

Reference: Ta’leem Al Qur’an course for women: Asma ul Husna class.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. theseekerspath permalink
    October 15, 2008 11:06 pm

    MashaAllah very good explanation. May Allah reward you for this. Can you please write the link to the Asma-ul-Husna class where the explanation of these names is taught?

  2. October 16, 2008 7:20 pm

    Ameen and may Allah ta’ala reward you for reading it! Ameen. Jazakum Allahu khayran.

    It is Al-Huda Institute’s Ta’leem al Qur’an course: The Names of Allah class is a sub class, but the main focus of the class is the Qur’an.

    They are having a new class in January, please visit the website for more information inshaAllah.

  3. July 30, 2009 10:56 am

    Mashallah sister Amatullah, I just want to say how grateful I am to you for providing me with an understanding of who Allah swt is through His Beautiful and Grand names. I have been really trying to find good explanations of these names for some time and I just can’t say how much this has benefitted me.

    May Allah swt truly reward you abundantly!

    Jazakallah khair again,


  4. Aideh permalink
    October 18, 2009 5:52 pm

    salaamu alaikum sis,

    I’m so happy to read your site. Jazakillah kheira, keep up the good work fee sabeelillah. May Allah reward you in the Dunya and the Akhira.

    We’re going to cover a name/attribute of Allah once a week for our Sunday halaqas. I really loved your site, your references, the way you lay out everything so simply is awesome. Masha Allah. We’re using your site and spreading the knowledge, how exciting, can’t wait!

  5. Shazeela permalink
    March 21, 2011 1:57 am

    Dear Sister. I have been looking for the meanings of the names of Allah (S.W) and went through so many sites. Subhanallah you are doing a great work. I really liked the way u have explained through all the sources and we are doing dars weekly, and we are doing abt the names of allah was looking for a better explanantion of our creators names and Allah (s.w) has guided me to your site and Im sure so many people will benefit frm your site. May allh bless you and guide u and make your work easy for you and give you more useful knowledge to guide our ummah may allah make us meet each other in Jannah Amin.

  6. Muminah Al An Waari permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:20 pm


  7. nousheenkhan permalink
    January 21, 2013 1:44 am

    jazakAllah khair sister may Allah give u rewards for such a great explanation of our creator,
    from last few mnth i was searching any source abt it doesnt work finaly Allah guide me to ur site.
    i m very happy to find it,
    may Allah guide all of us ameen

  8. anonymous permalink
    April 7, 2014 2:22 pm

    Assalamu alaykum, could you possibly explain that you say that there is no feminine in the name of Allah, I know I am asking typical question and my ilm regarding it is somewhat clear that we use We as royalty one, not for plurality purpose. But, I need to have clear understanding that using He is also He in Arabic or is it just due to translation purposes we use He in English. For instance in Urdu we say ‘woh’ and it is used for both her/him. So, is it the same in Arabic that the word that is translated in English is He but in Arabic it is used for both, in the Qur’anic Arabic I mean?

    Please, clarify.

  9. Alhusseyny Adam permalink
    September 4, 2014 8:07 am

    I need a personal online lecture, I wanted to study arabic. Am earnestly in need of teacher.

  10. soura permalink
    December 25, 2014 4:33 pm

    jaza koumou allah kair, the knowledge of the names of allah thereford allah himself is (primordial) for every muslim.

  11. January 27, 2015 11:07 pm


    jazakillah khayr for this. Just a note, there are many instances of the word ‘too’ being used incorrectly; the regular ‘to’ should be used in stead. the implication of using ‘too’, for example, in the last sentence of the 2nd opinion can have a very dangerous meaning. please fix.

    opinion 3 is also using ‘too’ when ‘to’ should be used, although the implications arent as drastic in opinion 3.

  12. November 29, 2015 9:40 am

    Awesome issues here. I’m very glad to peer your post. Thank you so
    much and I’m taking a look ahead to contact you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  13. Maliha permalink
    February 1, 2018 9:27 pm

    This is in response to the question as to why Allah is referred to as He. In Arabic language/grammar, there are only two genders, male and female. There is no neutral gender (it). Furthermore, default gender is male. So everything is considered male unless there is a specific reason for it to be female. Therefore in arabic, Allah is referred to as “He” not because He possesses male attributes but because of the rules of the language.


  1. The grand name of Allah – Ism Allahi al-A’dham « Qayyiman
  2. ALLAH: The Unique One | Touching Lives

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