“And Allah’s are the best Names, therefore call on Him thereby, and leave alone those who violate the sanctity of His Names; they shall be recompensed for what they did; God’s alone are the attributes of perfection; invoke Him, then, by these, and stand aloof from all who distort the meaning of His attributes.” Quran Al A’Raf 7:180
“Say: ‘Call upon Allah or call upon the Beneficent God; whichever you call upon, He has the Best names.’ Say: ‘Invoke God, or invoke the Most Gracious: by whichever name you invoke Him, He is always the One — for His are all the attributes of perfection.'” Quran Al Isra 17:110
“Allah is He, other than Whom there is no other god; Who knows both what is hidden and what can be witnessed; He is the Most Compassionate and Merciful. Allah is He, other than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the One, the Source of Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Security, the Exalted, the Compelling, the Supreme. Glory be to God, beyond any associations. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: Whatever exists in heaven and earth declares His Praise and Glory. And He is Exalted in Power, the Wise.” Quran Al Hashr 59:22-24
“He is the First and the Last and the Ascendant (over all) and the knower of hidden things, and He is Cognizant of all things. He is The First (Al-Awaal) and The Last (Al-Aakhir), The Outward (As-Zhahir) and The Inward (Al-Batin); He is The Knower of All Things.” Quran Al-Hadid 57:3
The Divine Names
As humanity evolved along the path of spirituality, various aspects and attributes of divinity were sensed. Climbing higher on the scale of the holy path, Man discovered more facets of Allah, or whatever one may call the Absolute. Gradually, the hidden Isis unveiled, and is still unveiling her beauty–her naked Truth. This revelation is an on-going process, for humanity will not cease to struggle for enlightenment being unsatiated with the crumbs or the milk of the Word.
Discovering himself, man discovered God; and the more he grew in self-awareness, the more he discovered the treasures, the various divine elements unawakened within his essence. This was how the various names of God came into existence.
Primitive cultures might have referred to the unseen Intelligence with a single appellation, but as they grew in maturity, in awareness, wisdom and understanding, as they unfolded their own innate divinity, more attributes were realized and names were assigned to the God they worshipped, for man inherently felt that the awakened virtues he had are possessed in full perfection by the Source of All. The amount of God-names expands as man develops his Spirit-awareness.
What man formally understood broadly, he now began to apperceive the details, the minor rays of the One Light; and these details, he may subsequently discover, further differentiate themselves ad infinitum.
These divine rays or virtues of Allah were personified by the ancients ushering man from the animistic stage to the polytheistic phase. Almost all of the ancient cultures had their pantheons of gods and goddesses, representing externally the inherent, and somewhat dormant spectrum of divine virtues lying hidden within man.
Though man be made in God’s image, possessing the seeds of divinity, he still reflects poorly the divine attributes and aspects of his Progenitor; thus humanity still needs to grow into God’s image and attain its own beautification, acquiring the state of perfection, the evolutionary stage called “Insan Kamil,” or “Perfect Human Being.”
Polytheism is not merely a concept or untrue. Human beings do evolve into perfection and attain god status as exclaimed by the prophets, “ye are (intrinsically) gods!” An adept on the spiritual path might make a divine virtue a predominant part of its expression that the embodiment of the attribute causes the adept to be universally and celestially recognized as a god of the divine ray itself.
Thus, we have Venus, the goddess of Love, Kwan Yin, the goddess of Mercy, Thoth, the god of Wisdom, etc. The gods are embodiments of the ideal and various esoteric practice revolves around the assumption of the forms and characteristics of the gods and goddesses in order to quicken the magician’s own divinity and to produce occult effects. The gods, however, do bow in reverence to Allah, the One Essence recognizing and understanding more than what is known to mortal minds.
In Islam, and in al-Hikmah, in general, human figures are not permitted to represent Allah or the divine attributes, as they are considered sacrilegious. Even the portrait of the Prophet was not saved for posterity. This was to avoid making a cult around the personality of the Messenger as was unfortunately done with the Piscean Master.
One of the teachings of Islam is that angels do not descend into houses filled with dogs and images. Though fundamentalists may adhere to the rule of the letter, esoterically, this refers to the unrestrained desires and the idols of the mind. The Divine Ray of the Holy Spirit has trouble entering man through the crown chakra blocked with psychic toxins generated by the impure mind and emotions. This is the esoteric interpretation of Christ knocking at the door and waiting for entry. He who would not purify himself causes the portal to remain barred.
There is an interesting account about images: during the early days of the promulgation of Islam by the walis or saints in Indonesia, the Islamic leaders encountered a problem as the indigenous people of Java were fond of the shadow-puppet theatrical plays. These puppets were in the shape of human figures.
In keeping with the Islamic law that human icons were not allowed to be portrayed, they sought to ban this traditional entertainment but feared causing an uproar as a consequence. One of the Walis known as Sunan Kalijaga, intervened, however.
His keen mind saw the potential of the plays as a media in conveying the moral teachings of Islam and suggested to the council of the “9 Saints” to allow the continuance of the practice. To comply with the teachings of Islam, he proposed that the human figures of the puppets be caricaturized. Thus deformed images of the shadow-puppets came into being. Samples of these may be found all over our website.
The Divine Names in Islam that have traditionally been passed on to us are 99 in number; the word “Allah” rounds the number to 100. The “Beautiful Divine Names” is probably the development of the 72 divine names of the Schemhamphoras, the 10 God-Names of the Qaballistic Tree of Life, and the other numerous appellations of God to be found in Jewish scriptures.
Scholars of Islam may debate as to the legitimacy of the 99 names as a whole, whether they are a revelation from God and a true teaching of the Prophet, or whether they are simply concocted by man; but as occultists, this is of no import. The names are archetypal and may be experienced as realities within the recesses of one’s psyche.
Each letter of the Arabic alphabet has a numerological value and is said to be associated with khodams, or angelic servants. The letters are embodiments or are representative of cosmic energies. The combined letters forming the Divine Names are in turn associated with other spirit khodams or classes of the angelic hierarchy. Having numerical values, the combined letters of the Divine Names represent metaphysical structures mathematically-based that possesses esoteric significances.
Practitioners normally chant the Names the number of times in accord with its total value. The numerical value of a Name resonates with the power that it represents. Thus chanting the value of a Name or one of its expression mathematically derived therefrom, invokes the power, grace and virtues of the Name into the magician’s consciousness. The figures in the table below, extracted from old manuscripts, is the result of just one numerological method of calculating the value of the Names. The Arabic letters, not the Latin, have been used as a basis for this calculation; the various methods of acquiring the value of a Name will not be given here as they are related to initiatic transmissions.