What is Ism-e-Azam?
Surely, a large majority of you may have heard about the term Ism-e-Azam. The great Sufis have produced enormous works and explanations on this subject based upon the knowledge of Quran. They have listed the benefits and rewards of this invaluable zikr of Allah.
We as ordinary Muslims do not possess the ability and knowledge to completely inform you about Ism-e-Azam, its formulae, deduction and benefits, but with full honesty we will attempt to describe it to the Muslim Ummah. The Quran states:
And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do (7:180)
Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Invoke Allah or invoke the Most Beneficent (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names. And offer your Salat (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between. (17:110)
Let us understand the purpose of this revelation (shan-e-nuzool) of the above ayah of Surah Isra (17):
“One night the leader of both worlds, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was doing zirk of Allah in the blessed Ka’ba. In Sajdah he was loudly saying Ya Allah and then Ya Rahman. When Abu Jahl saw this, he told his colleagues “look, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) tells us not to bow down to and call to extra Gods, but today is calling to Gods himself. Sometimes he calls Allah and sometimes he calls Rahman”. Immediately this ayah was revealed, in which this doubt was removed that Allah and Rahman are not two different names of two different beings, but are the names of the necessary being known as Allah. Allah is the Ism-e-Zaati (personal) and Rahman is His attribute.
Tafseer Naeemi states in relation to the ayah of Sura Isra: “asking dua is an act of worship, obedience and helplessness, and so therefore, when a dua is asked from Allah, it should be through His names and attributes. Whether His Zaati name is used or his attributes, both are acceptable but it must be noted that at the time of dua, no other names must be used except His names.
Benefit of Ism-e-Azam
The great Sufis and Auliya Ikraam teach that Allah’s Zaati name and His attributes are all Ism-e-Azam. They have regarded many of the ayahs from the Quran as Ism-e-Azam. They state that every individual has an Ism-e-Azam. Similarly all the Prophets and Messengers had Ism-e-Azam. Shaykh Fakhruddin Khwarizmi states that when Allah prescribes an Ism to someone based on his/her circumstances then that is their Ism-e-Azam, for example:
Hazrat Ayyub’s (peace be upon him) Ism-e-Azam was Arham-ur-Rahimeen, based on this verse:
And (remember) Ayub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy” (21:83)
The Ism-e-azam of Hazrat Sayyidina Suleiman (peace be upon him) was Wahaab, when he prayed to Allah:
He said: “My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me: Verily, You are the Bestower.”(38:35)
Hazrat Zakariya’s (peace be upon him) Ism-e-azam was “Khair-ul-Waritheen”, as stated below:
And (remember) Zakariya (Zachariah), when he cried to his Lord: “O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors” (21:89)
It is clearly evident that the prayers made by the great Prophets of Allah were accepted. Hazrat Ayub was cured, Hazrat Suleiman was granted Kingdom and Hazrat Zakariya received an obedient and humble child in Hazrat Yahya.
There are many Ahadith and sayings of the righteous personalities about what are Ism-e-Azam and how it can be obtained. Allama Naqi Ali khan (RA) and A’laa Hazrat have also talked about this issue. Those who wish to deeply study this topic must refer to the book Ahsan-u-Dua. Inshallah with the guidance of Allah, Spiritual Foundation, UK, will attempt to list all the explanations and elucidations of Ism-e-Azam in the near future.
Every person has an Ism-e-Azam, either based on his/her name or circumstances. The great Sufis and friends of Allah have given us very simple and logical methods to work out our Ism-e-Azam. Every name has a quantity, according to the concept of Haroof-e-Abjad. It is reported that Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged people to teach and learn about this concept. He (peace be upon him) also said that Abjad is written in Lauh-e-Mahfooz (Ahmed bin Ali al-Buni, Shamsul Ma’arif)
To simplify this argument for the readers, it is important to understand certain examples, as mentioned below:
“Naseema: this name’s quantity according to Abjad is 165. So now it is necessary to search for Allah’s name, which also has 165 numbers according to Abjad. If one name of Allah cannot be found with 165, then two names should be added and the process should continue until a name or several names make up 165. So in this case, Muhaymin, which is 145 and Wudood, which is 20, make up 165. So the Ism-e-Azam of Naseema is Ya Muhaymin Ya Wudood Ya Allah. It must be noted that Sufis have advised us to associate the Zaati name “Allah” in the end. If the name Allah is automatically part of your Ism-e-Azam then you do not have to add it in the end. Furthermore, while reading your Ism-e-Azam, you must put a YA in front of all the names of Allah. So it should be Ya Muhaymin, Ya Wadood, Ya Allah. And since the amount is 165, then the reader must read it 330 times daily by doubling it”.
Remember, every name of Allah has a Muwakkil (angel), who constantly prays and repeats that name of Allah. And the more you read your Ism-e-Azam, the closer this angel will come to you. This angel will gradually help and assist you in fulfilling you wishes and hopes. You will suddenly feel a help and assistance coming from the unseen for all your matters. Some Sufis have also mentioned that if one with honest and humble intentions punctually reads Ism-e-Azam, then one day you will be able to see and witness that angel. This is power of Ism-e-Azam. May Allah give us the opportunity to worship and remember Him all the time and that we all follow the path of His beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Lets us pray that we all live as Muslims and take our last in breath as Mu’mins. Ameen.
For the benefit and easiness of the Muslim Ummah, Spiritual Foundation has successfully designed a programme, which automatically calculates your Ism-e-Azam. Remember to input your name correctly with correct spellings in the Arabic language. If you are not sure about you name’s spelling, then please do not hesitate to email the administrator or the Shuyukh. As a warning it must said that since this programme calculates the names of Allah, one must make sure to use it with respect, i.e. do not use vulgar names, or names of animals etc.
Spiritual Foundation and its staff would want all your duas and blessings, so that it may produce other useful websites and software for your benefits. May Allah protect and preserve Huzoor Sheikh-e-Tariqat Hadrat Allamah Syed Muhammad Jilani Ashraf, who showed us the way to learn from Ism-e-Azam and make it into a programme for the Muslim society. Without his research and knowledge on this topic, it would have been impossible for us to work out this method and system.