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Section XXXI [31] of the Miṣbāḥ of Taqī al-Dīn al-Kaf`āmī


المصباح للكفعمي

الفصل الحادي و الثلاثون في ما روي في ذكر الاسم الأعظم

Translation Dr. Stephen Lambden (UC-Merced), 2009.

Under constant revision and updating - DECEMBER-2017.

Last updated 10-12-2017

The Names of God and theories of His Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam) with special reference to the Miṣbāḥ (Luminary) of Tāqī al-Dīn Kaf`amī (d. 900/1494-5) and Bābī-Bahā’ī theologies of the Eschatological Name.

In his extensive Arabic compilation entitled al-Miṣbāḥ fī’l-A’diyya wa’l-salawāt wa’l-Ziyarāt (The Luminary incorporating Supplications, Prayers and Visitation texts) of the (just pre-Safavid) Twelver Shī`ī thinker Shaykh Tāqī al-Dīn Ibrāhīm ibn `Alī ibn Ḥasan ibn Muhammad al-`Āmilī al-Kaf`amī (d. 900/1494-5) includes a section on the question of the al-ism al-a`ẓam (The Mightiest Name [of God]) followed, among other things,  by one on the ninety-nine al-asmā’ al-ḥusnā (The Most Beautiful Names of God’) (see Kaf`amī, Misbah 408-418; 419-482). Select texts from and a translation and consideration of this eleven or so page section is reproduced below. It includes sixty sections of varying length largely culled from Shī`ī traditions and devotional literatures which either refer to, indentify the nature of, or spell out some aspect of the (one or more) forms of the al-ism al-a`ẓam, the Mightiest Name of God.

In the first section on Allah as the Mightiest Name and elsewhere Kaf`ami refers to Ibn Fahd a  Shi`i thinker who was active during the 9th century AH =  15th-16th cent. CE. Ibn Fahd al-Hillī  is sometimes reckoned to be a possible teacher of Sayyid Muhammad al-Nurbaksh (d. 869/1464), founder of the Nurbakhshiyya, a Shi`i offshoot of the Kubrwaiyya Sufi order. Among his well-known works is the `Uddat al-Da`ī (“The Preparedness of the Supplicator”). This work is twice specifically referred in Kaf`ami's section of the Mightiest Name of God. After the final section sixty Kaf`amī cites Ibn Fahd in  noting many further (beyond sixty) references relating to the Mightiest Name (Misbah, 1424/2003 p. 417 ).

“Shaykh Aḥmad ibn [Muhammad ibn] Fahd [al-Hillī (fl. 9th cent AH =  15th-16th cent. CE) said in his `Uddat [al-Da`ī] (“The Preparedness of the Supplicator”)… At the end of this first section on Allāh (see below) as the Mightiest Name Kaf`amī  writes, 

“The author of the `Uddat [al-Da`ī] (“The Preparedness of the Supplicator”) states that “these sayings [about the Mightiest Name] are very close[ly related] (qarīb jidd an) though their ramifications of meaning are extensive (li’an al-wārid fī hadha ma`anī kathīr)” (Kaf`amī, Misbah, 408). 

The above volume contains some 1200 sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and was recently utilized by Riad Aziz Kassis in his The book of Proverbs and Arabic proverbial works (Leiden:  Brill Academic, 1999). ....

Kaf`ami then seems to have cited or drawn extensively on parts of the the 500 page Arabic `Uddat al-Da`ī of Ibn Fahd in his identifying sixty passages or traditions about the Mightiest Name.

We may also note here that Muhammad ibn Salāma ibn Ja`far ibn `Alī al-Quḍā`ī al-Miṣrī (d. 454/1062)  was the author of a number of Arabic works including the volume Kitab Dastūr Mu`allim al-Ḥikam

  • Dustūr maʻālim al-ḥikam wa-ma'thūr makārim al-shiyam : min kalām Amīr al-Mu'minīn ʻAlī Ibn-Abī-Ṭālib. ed. Ḥasan al-Samāḥī Suwaidān,  Damascus : Dār al-Qalam,  2003.
  • (`The Shooting Star in Wisdom Sayings, Proverbs and Ethics’), ed. `Abu al-Wafā’ Muhammad al-Murāghī. Cairo: al-Majlis al-A`la li’l-Shu’ūwn al-Islāmiyya, Lajnat al-Tā’rīf bi’l-Islām, 1970.


      الفصل الحادي و الثلاثون

 في ما روي في ذكر الاسم الأعظم  

Section Thirty One of the Miṣbāḥ of Taqī al-Dīn al-Kaf`āmī (d. 900/1494-5) on what has been transmitted regarding الاسم الأعظم  al-ism al-a`ẓam (”The Mightiest Name [of God]”).

With full translation and occasional notes these sixty sections about the Mightiest Name are as follows:

Annotated translation occasional commentary.

"Know that the statements (al-aqwāl) regarding this subject hare not been adequately encompassed in any authored book (kitāb muṣannaf) nor compiled by any author yet we shall [here] make mention of such statements (aqwāl an):

[1] Firstly: 

: the al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name) is Allāh (God) since it is the most well-known (ashhar) of His Names (asmā’) –exalted be He – and their most-elevated (a`lā), finding a place in remembrance (dhikr) and in supplication (al-du`ā). He gave it precedence relative to the rest of the Names.  He favored it through an utterance of faithfulness (kalimat al-ikhlāṣ) and rendered possible thereby the testimony [of faith] (al-shahāda). It was indeed honored (imtāz) over the rest of the Names (al-asmā’) with additional characteristics (khawāṣṣ ukhrā)…

[2] Secondly : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified]

“in a Muṣḥaf  (“book”, “volume”  “copy”- cf. Qur’ān ms. ) that is set apart (qat` an)”.

SL Note: A Muslim or Baha'i exegete here, might think of the 100th, Mightiest Name of God that is allegedly 'Hidden' (al-ghayb) supplementary to the well-known 99 Names of God of the Prophetic tradition related from Abu Hurayra and Imam `Ali. Alernatively, it might be viewed as hidden away in the celestial world in an unseen book or celestial scroll.

[3] Thirdly : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as

“Allāh al-Raḥman, “God, the All-Merciful”.

SL Note : This is the Qur’anic Arabic personal name of God with the attribute al-Raḥman (“the Merciful”) attached as it is in the (slightly abbreviated) Islamic basmala,"Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim, "The the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" which prefixes all but one of the 114 suras of the Qur'an.

[4] Fourthly  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being

“among the al-asmā’ al-ḥusnā (“The Most-Beautiful Names”) which are ninety-nine distinct items (qat` an)”.

We have here a translation of the prophetic hadith realyed from "Abu Hurayra (al-Dawsi al-Yamani, d.c. 58/677) [who] reported God's messenger as saying,

"God, the Most High, has ninety-nine names. He who retains them in his memory will enter paradise. He is [1] God [Allāh] than whom there is no God, [2] the Compassionate (al-Rahman), [3] the Merciful (al-Raḥim), [4] the King (al-Mālik), [5] the Holy (al-Quddūs), [6] the source of Peace [the Flawless] (al-Salām), [7] the Preserver of security [the Faithful] (al-Mu'min), [8] the Protector [Guardian] (al-Muhaymin), [9] the Mighty (al-'Azīz), [10] the Overpowering [Compeller] (al-Jabbār), [11] the Great in Majesty (al-Mutakabbir), [12] the Creator (al-Khāliq), [13] the Maker (al-Bāri'), [14] the Fashioner (al-Musawwir), [15] the Forgiver (al-Ghaffar), [16] the Dominant (al-Qahhār), [17] the Bestower (al-Wahhāb), [18] the Provider (al-Razzāq), [19] the Decider [Opener] (al-Fattāḥ), [20] the Knower [Omniscient] (al-'Alīm), [21] the Withholder [He Who contracts] (al-Qābid), [22] the Plentiful Giver (al-Bāsit), [23] the Abaser (al-Khāfid), [24] the Exalter (al-Rāfi'), [25] the Honourer (al-Mu'izz), [26] the Humiliator (al-Muzill), [27] the Hearer (al-Sami), [28] the Seer (al-Baṣīr), [29] the Judge (al-Ḥakam), [30] the Just (al-'Adl), [31] the Gracious [the Benevolent] (al-Laṭīf), [32] the Informed (al-Khabīr), [33] the Clement [the Mild] (al-Ḥalīm), [34] the Incomparably Great (al-'Azīm), [35] the Forgiving (al-Ghafūr), [36] the Rewarder [Grateful] (al-Shakūr), [37] the Most High (al-'Alī), [38] the most Great (al-Kabīr), [39] the Preserver (al-Ḥafīẓ), [40] the Sustainer [Nourisher] (al-Muqīt), [41] the Reckoner (al-Ḥasīb), [42] the Majestic (al-Jalīl), [43] the Generous (al-Karīm), [44] the Watcher [All-Observant] (al-Raqīb), [45] the Answerer (al-Mujīb), [46] the Liberal [the Vast] (al-Wāsi'), [47] the Wise (al-Ḥakim), [48] the Loving (al-Wadūd), [49] the All-Glorious (al-Majīd), [50] the Raiser [the Resurrector] (al-Bā'ith), [51] the Witness (al-Shahīd), [52] the Real [the Truth] (al-Ḥaqq), [53] the Trustee (al-Wakīl), [54] the Strong (al-Qawī), [55] the Firm (al-Matīn), [56] the Patron (al-Walī), [57] the Praiseworthy (al-Ḥamīd), [58] the All-knowing (al-Muḥṣī), [59] the Originator (al-Mubdi'), [60] the Restorer to life (al-Mu'īd), [61] the Giver of life (al-Muḥyī), [62] the Giver of death (al-Mumīt), [63] the Living (al-Ḥayy), [64] the Eternal [Self-Subsusting] (al-Qayyūm), [65] the Self-Sufficient (al-Wājid), [66] the Grand [Magnificent] (al-Mājid), [67] the One (al-Wāḥid), [68] He to whom men repair [the Eternal] (al-Ṣamad), [69] the Powerful (al-Qādir), [70] the Prevailing (al-Muqtadir), [71] the Advancer [the Promoter] (al-Muqaddim), [72] the Delayer (al-Mu'akhkhir), [73] the First (al-Awwal), [74] the Last (al-Ākhir), [75] the Outward [Manifest] (al-Ẓāhir), [76] the Inward (al-Bāṭin), [77] the Governor [Ruler] (al-Wālī), [78] the Sublime (al-Muta'ālī), [79] the Ample Beneficent [Righteous] (al-Barr), [80] the Acceptor of Repentance (al-Tawwāb), [81] the Avenger (al-Muntaqim), [82] the Pardoner (al-'Afuw), [83] the Kindly (al-Ra'ūf), [84] the Ruler of Kingdom (Mālik al-Mulk), [85] the Lord of Majesty and Splendor (Dhu'l-Jalāl wa'l-Ikrām), [86] the Equitable (al-Muqsiṭ), [87] the Gatherer (al-Jāmi'), [88] the Independent [Rich] (al-Ghanī), [89] the Enricher (al-Mughnī), [90] The Depriver [Protector] (al-Māni'), [91] the Harmer [Punisher] (al-Ḍārr), [92] the Benefiter (al-Nāfi'), [93] the Light (al-Nur), [94] the Guide (al-Hādī), [95] the First Cause (al-Badī'), [96] the Enduring (al-Bāqī), [97] the Inheritor (al-Wārith), [98] the Director (al-Rashīd), [99] the Patient (al-Ṣabūr)."

[5] Fifthly : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being

He [It] is Yā Ḥayy, Yā Qayyūm (O Living One! O Self-Subsisting!)  which in [Biblical] Hebrew (al-`ibrāniyya) is (in Arabic transliteration) آهيا  شرآهيا   (= Āhiyā Shara  Ahiyā ) [sic. for] Hebrew  אהיה   אהיה אשר   =  (in the AV or King James’ version) “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14).

In various Shi`i Islamic sources the biblical `I am that I am’ is associated with the Mightiest Name of God. Moses on Sinai asked the Name of God and was given this phrase (causative H-stem? of the verb to be in Hebrew) of divine Self-identification closely related to the tetragrammation (=Y-H-W-H  cf. A-H-W-H =  “I AM”).  As the Arabic Qayyūm can be evocative of God’s existence through His own Self so the `I am that I am’ has similar implications.

It was perhaps during the reign of Rameses II (13th century B.C.E.) that Moses, a Hebrew with an Egyptian name, "fled from Pharoah and stayed in the land of Midian" (Exodus 2:15) where he married into the family and kept the flock of Jethro the "priest of Midian."  According to Exodus 3:1ff., it was while Moses was working as a shepherd that he encountered God and was called to "bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt":

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here am I." Then he said, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." And he said, "I am the God ( `Elōhîm  Heb.  אלוהים) of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6).

While in Exodus 3:2, it is an "angel of the Lord" (mal'akh YHWH) or messenger of YHWH which appeared to Moses in a flame of fire of a burning bush, Exodus 3:4 implies that it was יהוה  YHWH ("the Lord") who spoke directly to Moses. As the narrative unfolds, the mysterious angel is seen to represent the God, (ha-) `elōhîm  Heb אלוהים) who subsequently identifies himself as YHWH (Exod.3:15.) This apparent confusion between God and his messengers has been thought to be expressive of the mystery of the divine transcendence. Moses had a visually real though indirect, encounter with his Lord indirectly perceived through His messenger in the ethereal formlessness of a flame of fire set in a burning bush which "was not consumed."

The text of Exodus 3:1-6, cited above is followed by an account of the commission of Moses (3:7-12) and by verses expressive of the revelation of the divine Name:

Then Moses said to God ('elohim),  "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them,  `The God ('elohim) of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?'"  God ('elohim) said to Moses, אהיה אשר אהיה (= 'ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh)"  "I AM WHO I AM" And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM ('ehyeh) has sent me to you.'"

God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, `The LORD יהוה (YHWH) the God ('elohim) of your fathers, the God ('elohim) of Abraham, the God ('elohim) of Isaac and the God ('elohim) of Jacob, has sent me to you':  this is my name (lit. my memorial)  for ever and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations (lit.,  for generation of generation)" (Exodus 3:13-15)

Here Moses requests that God disclose His name to the end that his mission to the Israelites will be successful. From the burning bush, the God ('elohim) worshipped by Moses' ancestors first informs Moses that He is, אהיה אשר אהיה = 'ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh   (trans. = ) "I AM WHO I AM"  or  perhaps,  "I AM THAT [IS WHO] I AM,"   "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE" or "I CAUSE TO BE WHATEVER I CAUSE TO BE". 

This elusive Hebrew phrase אהיה אשר אהיה may anticipate and throws light on the meaning of the subsequently disclosed name יהיה = YHWH. The three occurences of אהיה  "I AM" here and the most sacred name  יהיה = YHWH   most likely derive from the same Hebrew verbal root (perhaps H-W-Y [H-W-H]  הוה meaning "to be/come to pass"), although there is no consensus exists about this matter. The etymological verbal form in this connection may not be the simple form (qal) but the Hebrew causitive hiphil = "H-Stem".  On the basis of diverse etymologies the implication of  the  אהיה אשר אהיה  may thus be that God is One who acts in sovereign freedom, One Who is Self-Existent, One who makes Himself known in whatever way He chooses or, among other possibilities, One Who sustains existence, or Who cannot be properly known or adequately named.

A Note on the Tetragrammaton, Heb. יהיה = YHWH.

Occurring more than 6,000 times in the HB the tetragrammaton יהיה = YHWH is the personal Name which the Deity  אלוהים  (`elōhîm  x 2,570 sing. + pl.) "the God" of the Israelite forefathers disclosed to Moses on Sinai. The God ('elohim) worshipped by the patriarchs also gives a more direct reply to Moses' question about His name. He declares Himself to be  יהיה = YHWH the tetragrammaton (Greek, "having four letters"). The four Hebrew consonants that make up the name of God YHWH (yhwh) remain of uncertain pronunciation and meaning. Its exact meaning continues to be debated among biblical scholars and its accepted pronunciation was lost hundreds of years ago, during the Middle Ages.

According to Freedman's article YHWH in the 5th volume of  TDOT "The problems associated with the Tetragrammaton are manifold and all somewhat technical" (Freeman, TDOT V:500). Such technical matters cannot be discussed in detail here though it can be noted that pronunciations of the tetragrammaton proposed by modern scholars include, YeH H , YeHôáH, YaHôH, and YaHúH  as well of course as the now quite well-known yaHWeH = Yahweh, commonly used,  for example, in the Jerusalem Bible. (Ecole BibliqueJerusalem,1 vol ed.1951; Eng. 1972; rev. 1966, 73+ [NJB Eng.]1985).

A basically erroneous vocalization of  YHWH  is expressed by the artificial and impossible hybrid transliteration YeōWāH which becomes "Jehovah" in English.   This word was the  invention of  Renaissance Christians who ignored or misunderstood the Masoretic convention of combining of the consonants of YHWH with the vowels of the substitute reading 'adônai (Hebrew, "Lord"), hence  XXXX (also אלוהים `elōhîm). During the past century or more Biblical and other scholars have striven to recover the pronunciation of YHWH. Today the form yahweh  is most widely accepted. For 2,000 years or more, however, the very attempt to pronounce the tetragrammaton was something widely viewed, at least in "orthodox" Jewish circles, as something sacrilegious or spiritually dangerous.

At some stage after the Babylonian exile, from the late Second Temple period (6thcent BCE – Zerubbabel-> 70 CE), Jews held back from publicly uttering this holy name. The name יהיה = YHWH came to be regarded as "unspeakably holy and therefore unsuitable for use in public reading, although it continued to be used privately" (Freeman, TDOT V: 500). Ancient mss.  of the Hebrew Bible or texts therein, including certain of the Dead Sea Scrolls, sometimes refrain from registering the 4 Hebrew Letters constituting יהיה  the tetragrammaton by  abbreviating it or obscuring  its  pronunciation by writing its 4 unvoweled letters in the archaic Hebrew script (cf. 4Q139);  

This reading of the divine name is probably much older than the MT. In some (though by no means all) of the Dead Sea scrolls, the use of the archaic script to write the name may indicate a special pronunciation. In 4Q139, two dots before the name YHWH may serve the same function

It is important to note in this connection that in a talismanic Prayer attributed to the 5th Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir in which the   אהיה אשר אהיה  is transliterated into Arabic:

O Living One (al-hayy), O Self-Subsisting (qayyum), O Judge (dayyan), O Judge (dayyan)!

O Ihya ashar Ihya (= Ehyeh ashar Ehyeh = אהיה    = אהיה אשר   "I am that I am") 

I, in very truth, supplicate Thee through these Names, those Pure, Purifying, that Thou should repudiate whatsover [might be] against [its] bearer.

There exists an important scriptural Tablet of Baha'-Allah to a certain Jinab-i Khalil on the Prophetic Commission of Moses expounding the Greatest Name in the light of Biblical texts such as those cited above.

"When the Divine Call was ended and the Mighty, Hidden Letters came to be in the threefold form in the quadratic Temple [= `Ali + Husayn] and the Innermost Mystery and Secreted Treasure was made manifest and eight Illumined Letters bore up the Heavenly Throne then was the Temple of the Greatest Name perfected and sealed with a sacred, guarded Seal. Blessed be he who gazes upon the Seal of the Beloved One and becomes aware of that which bath been decreed in it of the Mysteries deposited in the treasuries of the Books of old on the part of One All-Knowing, All-Wise. "

For details see further on the Website : 

[6] Sixthly   : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being

Yā Dhā’l-Jalāl wa’l-Ikrām (“O Lord of Majesty and Generosity [Honor]!”).

See Q. and 99 Names No. 85 Ghazālī, Ninety-Nine, 1992: 140. ADD.

[7] Seventhly : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [The phrase]

“O Our God  (Yā ilāh-nā) and God of everything ( wa-āllāha kulli shay’ in), a God Single-Unique (ilāh an wāhid an), No God is there save Thee! (lā ilāha ilā anta).” These four statements are mentioned by al-Tabrīzī [Tabarsī ]in his Majma` al-Bayān.


[8] Eightly  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [The phrase]

“He, verily, is God, [and] the Living One, [and] the Self-Subsisting” See Q.

[9] Ninthly : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] [by Imam Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq

“as being the basmala”.

[10] Tenthly  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [The phrases],

 Yā Badī` al-samawāt wa’l-arḍ ( O Generator of the heavns and of the earth!), Yā Dhā’l-Jalāl wa’l-Ikrām (“O Lord of Majesty and Generosity [Honor]!”).

(cf. prefixed to No. 6 above which is the second half here only).

[11] Eleventh :  [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] by the Prophet [Muhammad] as being,

“within three verses that occur towards the end of the Sūrat al-ḥashr (“The Surah of the Assembling” Q. 59 : 22-24)”.

The last three verses of this Sūrat al-ashr read as follows:

Q. 59:22 =




"He is God Who, no God is there except Him. He is aware of what is Hidden (al-ghayb) and what is Manifest (al-shahada). He is the Merciful (al-rahman), the Compassionate (al-rahim)."

Q. 59:23 = 




"He is God Who, no God is there except Him. The King (al-Malik), the Sanctified (al-quddus), the  Stabilizer  (al-salam), the Faithful  (al-mu`min), the Help in Peril (al-muhaymīn), the Mighty (al-`Aziz) the All-Compelling (al-jabbar), the Magnificent (al-mutakabir). Praise be God above whatsoever they falsely supopose."

Q. 59:24 =   

"He is God , The Creator (al-khāliq), the Originator (al-bāri') Who, no God is there except Him. The King (al-Malik), the Fashioner (al-musawwir),  unto Him belong the Most Beautiful Names (al-asma' al-husna) the  Stabilizer  (al-salam), the Faithful  (al-mu`min), the Help in Peril (al-muhaymīn). All render Him glorification whether they are in the heavens or upon the earth. And He is the Mighty (al-`Aziz) the Wise (al-hakim)."

Within these 3 verses there are  perhaps twenty-two (four + ten + eight = 22 ) possibile choices for the Mightiest Name of God, ranging from the personal name of God =Allah to various divine attributes such as the Wise (al-hakim). The eight of so occurences of هُوَ  huwa    in these three verses should also be noted.

[12] Twelfth  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] by the Prophet [Muhammad] as being

“in the verse of Sovereignty [Dominion] (āyat al-mulk)”.

قل اللهم مالك الملك تؤتي الملك من تشاء وتنزع الملك ممن تشاء

"Say: O my God! Ruler of the Kingdom [Possessor of Sovereignty] (mālik al-mulk)! Thou bestowest al-mulk (sovereignty) upon whomsoever Thou willeth and Thou removeth al-mulk (sovereignty) from whomsoever Thou desireth" (Q. 3:26a).

The word al-Mulk = `The Kingdom'; `Dominion'; `Sovereignty' ; `Rule...' occurs about 67 times in the Qur'an and is accounted one of the al-asma' al-husna (Most Beautiful Names of God) in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad as transmitted by Abu Huraya as Number [XX]. Note also that Qur'an 67 is the Sūrat al-Mulk which commences as follows:

See further Notes on the (1) Sūrat al-Mulk (The Sura of the Dominion"), Qayyum al-asma' 1.

[13] Thirteen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] by the Prophet [Muhammad] as being

 “in three sūrahs [of the Qur’ān] :

  • [1] in Sūrat al-baqara (`The Sūrah of the Cow, = Q.2 ), the āyat al-kursī (“the Throne Verse” = Q. 2:255[6]) [ =
  • [2] in the [Surat] Āl `Imrān (“The Family of Imrān” = Q. 3) “God, no God is there except Him, al-Ḥayy = “the  Living One, al-Qayyūm = “the Self-Subsisting”) [See Q. 3: 2).
  • And [3] in [Sūrat] Ṭā’-Hā’  (“T”-“H” Q. 20)  “[On that Day.. v. 108] Faces shall turn away [ be humbled]  from al-Ḥayy = (“the  Living One), al-Qayyūm (“the Self-Subsisting”) [See Q. 20: 111].

The well-known Sunnī Qur’ān commentator Qaḍī ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUmar Nāṣir al-Dīn  al-Bayḍāwī, (d. c. 700/1300) in his widely known and respected Sunnī Qur’ān commentary entitled Anwār al-tanzīl wa-asrār al-ta`wīl  ("The Lights of the Revelation and the mysteries of the Exegesis") states in the course of commentating on Q. 3: XX that

[14] Fourteen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is mentioned by Muhammad [ibn Ismā’īl] al-Bukhārī [d. 256/870] in his Kitāb al-tadhyīl (“Book of the Appendix”) [relayed] from him [The Prophet Muhammad] that it is in His [God’s] saying (exalted be He), “    (Q. ? 163) and His saying, “God, no God is there save Him, al-Ḥayy (the Living), the Qayyūm (“the Self-Subsisting”)” (Q. 3:2?).

[15] Fifteen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being

“Thou art God! No God is there except Him, the Merciful, the Compassionate  (al-Raḥman al-Rahīm)’.

[16] Sixteen : The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name) is

“[He is] Our Lord” (rabbunā). Such was transmitted by [The sixth Imam Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq (d. c. 148/765).

See Fn.

[17] Seventeen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is mentioned by [Muhammad ibn Salama ibn Ja`far ibn `Alī] al-Quḍā`ī [al-Miṣrī] (d. 454/1062) in his book, Kitab Dustūr ma`alim al-ḥikam [wa-ma'thūr makārim al-shiyam : min kalām Amīr al-Mu'minīn ʻAlī Ibn-Abī-Ṭālib] [relayed] from [Imam] `Alī (d. 40/661) – peace be upon him— [stating that] `It is at the beginning of the Sūrat al-Ḥadīd (“Surah of Iron”, Q. 57) unto where He [God] said [in the Qur’ān], “And He is aware of the thoughts in the breasts [of humankind]” (wa huwa alīm bi-dhāt al-ṣudūr) (= Q. 57:6b)

Note : al-Quḍā`ī = Muhammad ibn Salāma ibn Ja`far ibn `Alī al-Quḍā`ī al-Miṣrī (d. 454/1062)  was the author of a number of Arabic works including:

  • [Kitab] Dustūr maʻālim al-ḥikam wa-ma'thūr makārim al-shiyam : min kalām Amīr al-Mu'minīn ʻAlī Ibn-Abī-Ṭālib. ed. Ḥasan al-Samāḥī Suwaidān,  Damascus : Dār al-Qalam,  2003.

Surat al- Ḥadīd  (Q. 57) verses 1-6.

[Q. 57:1]

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

[Q. 57:2]  

   سَبَّحَ لِلّٰهِ مَا فِىْ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ‌ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيْزُ الْحَكِيْمُ

“Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.”

[Q. 57:3] 

لَهٗ مُلْكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ‌ يُحْىٖ وَيُمِيْتُ‌ وَهُوَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ ‏

His is the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth. He gives life and He causes death. And He has power over all things.”

 [Q. 57:4]


هُوَ الْاَوَّلُ وَالْاٰخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ‌  وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيْمٌ‏

“He is the First (al-awwāl) and the Last (al-akhir), and the Manifest (al-ẓāhir) and the Hidden (al-bāṭin), and He knows all things”.

[Q. 57:5]


 هُوَ الَّذِىْ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضَ فِىْ سِتَّةِ اَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوٰى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِىْ الْاَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيْهَاؕ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ اَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ‌ؕ وَاللّٰهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ بَصِيْرٌ‏

“He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He settled Himself upon the Throne. He knows what enters into the earth and what emerges from it, and what descends from heaven and what goes up into it. And He is with you wherever you may be. And God sees all that you do.”

[Q. 57:6] 

لَهٗ مُلْكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ‌ؕ وَاِلَى اللّٰهِ تُرْجَعُ الْاُمُوْرُ

“Unto Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth and unto God all affairs do return”. 

[the Mightiest Name of God is also found]  at the end of the سورة الحشر‎ Sūrat al-Ḥashr (Surah of the Assembling / Rounding Up, Q. 59)  from where He says, “If We sent down this Recitation [Qur’ān]” (Q. 59: 21a) [and the rest of] the Surah [al- Ḥashr] (=Q. 29: 21-24) :

Surat al- Ḥashr  (Q. 59) verses 21-24.:

لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ الأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

  • [21]. Had We sent down this recitation [Qur'an] on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ

  • [22]. He is God, there is no God except Him (La ilāha ila huwa), the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen (open). He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

  • [23]. He is God (Allāh) [MBN 1]. No God is there save Him (Lā ilāha illā Huwa), the King (al-Mālik [MBN 4], the Holy One (al-Quddūs) [MBN 5], the Flawless (al-Salām) [MBN 6], the Faithful (al-Mu`min) [MBN 7], the Help in Peril (al-Muhaymin) [MBN 8] the Mighty (al-`Azīz) [MBN 9], Omnipotent (al-Jabbār) [MBN 10], the Supreme (al-Mutakabbīr) [MBN 11]. Glory  be to God! above whatsoever they associate with Him (subḥān Allāh `ammā yushrikūn).

There are eight (or nine including Allāh [MBN 1] consecutive Names among the al-asmā’ al-ḥusnā (`Most Beautiful Names’ found in this verse (Nos. 4-11).

هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

  • [24]. He is Allah, the Creator (al-Bārī) [MBN 13], the Fashioner (al-Muṣawwar) [= MBN 14].  To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names (al-asmā’ al-ḥusnā). All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the Mighty (al-`Azīz) [=MBN 9], the Wise (al-Ḥakīm) [MBN 47].

Then raise up your hand(s) and say: `Yā man Huwa (O Thou who art He!). Wherefore do I, supplicate Thee by the truth of these Names that Thou bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad   and  

[18] Eighteen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [the phrase]

Yā arḥam al-raḥimīn  (“O Most Merciful of the Merciful ones!”).  

[19] Nineteen  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being

“He, verily, no God is there except Thee! Praised be unto Thee! I myself am among the evildoers [tyrannical] (al-ẓālimīn)”. 

These lines are non-qur’anic though they are made up of qur’anic phrases drawn from various Qur’ān texts and vocabulary. This identification might in part be rooted in an attempt to dissuade such as desire to use the power of the Mightiest Name for destructive reasons (see also No. 20 below).

[20] Twenty  : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the words]

“He is indeed the best of the Inheritors (al-wārithīn)” (=?? Qur’ān 21: 89). Wārith is one of the Divine Attributes reflected once in the plural in Q. 21: 89. This identification might be rooted in an attempt to dissuade such as desire to use the power of the Mightiest Name to acquire things which are best viewed as belonging to God, the “Best of Inheritors”.

[21] Twenty one : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the words]

“Sufficient for us is God and [He is] the best Trustee [Guardian] (al-wakīl)” (= Q. 3:173b).

The occurrence of the word Allāh here would seem to be equated with the Mightiest Name.

[22] Twenty two : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by Name-Attribute]


“The Near One” (al-Qarīb).

 [23] Twenty three : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the Name-Attribute],

“The  Loving” (al-Wahhāb).

 [24] Twenty four : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by Name-Attribute],

“The Forgiver” (al-Ghaffār).

 [25] Twenty five : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the words],

“The Hearer of the Supplication” (samī` al-du`ā’).

 [26] Twenty six : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the [Qur'anic] words],

"He is the Hearer (al-samī`), the All-Knowing (al-`alīm)".

These words can be found in the Qur'an at 8: 31b as well as ...

[27] Twenty seven : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the words],

“The  Loving” (al-wadūd) Possessor of the Glorioius Throne (dhū al-`arsh al-majīd), the One Who Acts according to whatsoever He desires.

[28] Twenty eight : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed by the words],

“Put thy trust in the Living One (al-ayy), the Undying [Who dieth not].”

This identification is an exact citation of the initial, opening half of Q. 25: 58a (50a). The imperative  of the vth form of the root w-k-l, tawakkal (to put one’s trust in [God], occurs ten further times in the Qur’ān (Kassis, Concordance, 1273). The above qur’ānic citation is closely paralleled at Q. 26: 217 though two different Divine Attributes are used, “Put thy trust in the All-Mighty (al-`Azīz), the All-Compassionate (al-Raḥīm)”.

 [29] Twenty nine : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being  

It lies between the two Jalāls in the [Surat]  al-An`ām (“The Surah of Cattle” = Q. 4).

 [30] Thirty: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being  

“Within  the a-wa -Mīm Surahs”. These Sūrahs are

[31] Thirty one : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],


These two isolated letters are prefixed to  Q.

[32] Thirty two : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“In what is between the Ḥā-Mīm [Surahs] and the Yā-Sin [Surah]”.

 [33] Thirty three : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],


This identification continues to read:

“It is indicated in the spelled out [isolated Arabic] letters [of the alphabet] (urūf al-tahjī) at the openings of the Surahs of the Qur’ān. These [isolated letters] are assembled together in your [human] speech when you correctly, repeatedly pronounce them in an appropriate manner (irat al-aqq). We reckon them and number them [the qur’ānic isolated letters] as having a total [abjad value] of six hundred and ninety three”.  

 A tradition ascribed to Imam `Alī reads as follows,

 “Everything has an attribute [token-sign] (ifat) and the attribute of the Qur’ān is the [isolated Arabic] letters [of the alphabet] (ḥurūf al-tahjī) [at the openings of the Surahs of the Qur’ān]. Sha`bī [then] stated, ‘In every [sacred] Book God there is a mystery [secret] (sirr). His mystery in the Qur’ān is the [isolated Arabic] letters [of the alphabet] (ḥurūf al-tahjī) [at the openings of the Surahs of the Qur’ān]. And from Sa`īd ibn Jabīr [it is related], `They are the Most Beautiful Names [of God] (asma’ Allāh al-usna) when separated [isolated things] (`cut off’, maqṭū`at). If the people knew their Author [`Composer’, `Originator’] (tā`līf) [= God] they would know the `Mightiest Name’ (al-ism al-a`am). He says, “A-L-R” :  -M” : “N”  which is [spells out] al-Raman (the Compassionate) except that we are conscious of the fact that we have connected them [the isolated letters]. Thus whoso is aware that the collection [of letters] is linked up is aware of the `Mightiest Name’ (al-ism al-a`am) which, when God is supplicated therewith will Him to respond. Thus says [Shaykh] al-abarsī  [=Tabrīzī] in his Majma` [al-Bayān]” (cited in Kaf`amī, al-Mibāḥ,  1424/2003, p. 411 fn. 1).

 [34] Thirty four : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“the amplification (al-mutakabbir) of its [alphabetical] substance (kūn) in line with the collective numerical value of the bases of all of the luminous letters (al-urūf al-nurāniyya) relative to their isolatedness (al-muqaṭṭa`a) which we have already mentioned as having a [collective abjad numerical] value of six hundred and ninety three” (see No. 33 above).


[35] Thirty five : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] from Imam [Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq (d. XXX/765) as being [expressed in], his statement to some of his companions when they asked `Have I not taught  you the al-ism al-a`am (Mightiest Name [ of God])?’. They said, `Yes indeed!’. He said, `[Then] Recite the amd [Q.1] and the Tawḥīd [= `There is no God save God’] and the `Throne verse’ (āyat al-kursī) [=Q. 2:256] and of the Qadar (Destiny) [?] Then face the Qibla [in Mecca] and supplicate according to what you desire’ Thus mentioned Muhammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Farrūkh al-Ṣaffār [Add Here]  in his book Faḍl al-Du`ā (“The Bounty of Supplication”).

 [36] Thirty six : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

From [Imam Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq (d. c. XXX/740) “It is in the Fātia (Opening Sūrah) of the Book (Q.1). If you recite this over the dead seventy times, then you will thereby have restored the soul (al-rūḥ)! Such is not such an astonishing thing (`ajab an).  This was mentioned by  Shaykh al-Mufi  ( ADD) his book al-Tabṣira  (ADD)


[37] Thirty seven : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in the tradition] transmitted by [Imam `Alī] al-Riḍā’ (d. XXX/XXXX) [or in another mss. from Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq, stating that]

“Whomsoever [recites] the basmala (Bismala al-Rahman al-Raḥīm) and the awlaqa  (= lā awla wa lā qūwata ilā bi-llāh ‘There is neither strength nor power save in God’) 100 times after the Dawn Prayer (alat al-Fajr) would be closer to the Mightiest Name of God (ism Allāh al-a`am) than the black of the eye is to its white. There within it the Mightiest Name of God (ism Allāh al-a`am).

 [38] Thirty eight : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],  “in this Du`ā (Supplication] :

“O My God! Thou art God. No God is there except Thou! O Source [Master] of Night Ascents and Power (yā dā al-ma`ārij wa’l-quwa). I ask Thee by Bismillāh al-Raman al-Raḥīm and by that which Thou sent down on the Night of Destiny [Power] (laylat al-qadr) that Thou establish for me by Thy command release from suffering [repose comfort] (faraj an) and freedom from difficulty (makhraj an). And I ask Thee that Thou bestow blessing upon Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad and that Thou forgive me my sins and accept my repentance O Most Merciful of the Merciful Ones (aram al-raḥimīn).

 This is mentioned by the author of the book al-Fawā’id al-Jaliyya:

 [39] Thirty nine : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in], “the Kitāb al-Nahy  (“ Book of Proscription) specifiying `Supplications of the Prophet [Muhammad]’ as relayed by Abī Muhammad aramī from the Prophet. [More specifically ] It is contained in this supplication:

“O My God! I do indeed supplicate Thee by virtue of the fact that With Thee is the Praise! No God is there save Thee. O Bountiful One (mannān)! O  Regenerator (badī`) of the heavens and of the earth! O  Possessor of Glory and Nobility (dhā’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām)!

[40] Forty : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“From the Kitāb al-Taḥṣīl [ ADD] as related from the Prophet [Muhammad] it [the Mightiest Name] is in this Supplication (al-du`ā):

“O my God! I beseech Thee since Thou verily art Thou Who art God! No God is there except Thee, the One (al-aad) All-Enduring [Perpetual] (al-amad)!

“He begetteth not; neither is He begotten” [=Q. 112:X].

For Him there is no one [who is] equal (kufū an  aad)

 [41] Forty one: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“It is from him [the Prophet Muhammad] blessings and peace be upon him and his family. It is found in this supplication (al-du`ā):

“I, verily, O my God! supplicate Thee through the totality of Thy Most Beautiful Names (bi’l-asmā’ika al-ḥusnā) which I have  been taught and those which I do not know. And I beseech Thee by Thy Mighty, Mightiest, Great, Greatest Name (bismika al-`aẓīm al-a`am al-kabīr al-akbar)”.

 [42] Forty two: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“in the supplication (al-du`ā’) of Joshua son of Nūn who, by means of it [the Mightiest Name], computed [thereby a restraining of the] the sun (al-shams) [on the day of battle, see Joshua 10: 8-15]. And it is,

`O my God! I, verily, supplicate Thee through Thy Pure, Purifying, Sacred, Blessed, Treasured, Name inscribed upon Pavilion of Laudation (surādiq al-amd) and Pavilion of  Glory (surādiq al-majd) and Pavilion of Power (surādiq al-qudrat) and Pavilion of  Sovereignty (surādiq al-sulṭān) and Pavilion of  the  Secrets [Throne-couches] (surādiq al-sarā’ir). I supplicate Thee, O Lord! since Thine is the Laudfation [Praise] (al-amd). No God is there except Thee, The Light (al-nūr), the Upright [Righteous, Devoted, Faithful] (al-bārr),  al-Raman (the Merciful),  al-Raḥīm (the Compassionate), the Righteous (al-Ṣādiq), the Learned (al-`ālim), the Hidden (al-ghayb), the Witness (al-shahāda), the Generator of the heavens and of the earth (badī` al-samawāt wa’l-ar) and their Light (nūr) and their Uplifter (qiyām), Possessor of Glory and Nobility (dū’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām),  One Affectionate [Loving, Tender) (annān),  a Light (nūr), Eternal (dā’im), Sanctified (quddūs),  One Living (ayy) Who dios not die.”  

Joshua 10: 10-15 :

“So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.”

 [43] Forty three: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

being,  in the following Du`a (Supplication) :

“I beseech Thee, O my God! by Thy Mighty Name (bismika al-`aẓīm)  and by Thy Greatest Riḍwān”. 

The word Riwān is an Artabic verbal noun (from the root R--W) meaning  `Felicity’, `Contentment’, `Delight’, `Favor’). It occurs 13 times in the Q. and, among other things in Islamic literatures, it came to designate an angelic figure who is the keeper of Paradise.  In the above prayer there is mention of the Mighty Name which is synonymous with the al-ism al-a`am, the `Mightiest Name’ and the Greatest Riwān may signify  the sublime beatitude of Paradise or its nagelic gatekeeper.  Not one of the al-asmā’ al-usnā the word Riwān was frequently used by the Bab from the first Sūrah of his Qayyūm al-asmā’ onwards. For Baha’is,  as is well-known. Riwān  is a highly eschatologically suggestive term coming to designate both the orchard or garden (bustan) where Bahā’u’llāh declared his prophetic mission and the sacred, twelve day period of its communication near Baghdad during April 22-May 3rd 1863. Three Bahāī holy days are designated as the Riwān period.


 [44] Forty four: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

[transmitted] “from him [the Prophet Muhammad]… in this supplication (al-du`ā’):

“O My God! I beseech Thee by Thy Mighty (`al-`aẓīm), Mightiest (al-a`am) Purifying [Pristine] (al-ṭāhir), Pleasant (al-ayyib), Blessed (al-mubārak) Name (ism) which is Most Beloved (al-aabb) of Thyself. When Thou art supplicated  therewith Thou do make reply and whenever I make request thereby Thou do make provision. And when Thou  art requested to display Thy Mercy by means of it Thou art indeed Merciful. And when Thou  art requested to dispel grief therewith Thou do indeed  show comfort.  

 [45] Forty five: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

[transmitted] “from him [the Prophet Muhammad]… in this supplication (al-du`ā’):

“O My God! I supplicate Thee through the intimate conjunctions of Might (bi-ma`āqid al-`izz) from Thy Throne (`arsh) and the extremities of Thy Mercy from Thy Book (muntahā ramat min al-kitāb); through Thy Mightiest Name (ismika al-a`am) and Thy most Sublime Bounty (jaddika al-a`lā) as well as  through Thy Completed Words (kalimātika al-tammāt).

 [46] Forty six: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

[transmitted] “from him [the Prophet Muhammad]… in this supplication (al-du`ā’):

“O My God! I supplicate Thee by Thy Most Beautiful Names (bi-ama’ika al-husnā), those which I known among them and those which I do not know. And I supplicate Thee by Thy Mightiest Name (bismika al-a`ẓam), which, when Thou art supplicated therewith Thou do respond. And whenever I make request thereby Thou do make provision. With Thee indeed is the Praise (al-amd)! No God is there save Thee. O Bountiful One (mannān)! O  Regenerator (badī`) of the heavens and of the earth! O  Possessor of Glory and Nobility (dhā’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām)!

See above No. 39. the latter portion of which is virtually identical to this prayer.

 [47] Forty seven: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed],

“within the Book Ighātha al-Di`ā`ī [“The Succor of the Supplicant“] by [the fourth Imam `Alī]  Zayn al-`Abidīn (d. XXX/XXX). It is in this [the following] supplication (al-du`ā’):

“O God (yā Allāh)! O God (yā Allāh)! O God (yā Allāh)! No doubt for Thee is there respecting Thy Singleness [Oneness] (waḥdaka). O Bountiful One (mannān)! O  Regenerator (badī`) of the heavens and of the earth! O  Possessor of Glory and Nobility (dhū’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām)!  The Possessor of the Mighty Names (al-asmā’ al-iẓām), Possesor of Might ( dhū’l-`izz) which ceases not. Thy God is Unique (wāḥid). No God is there except Him, the Merciful (al-ramān) Compassioante (al-raḥīm), and may the blessings of God be upon Muhammad and all of his family.”  Then make thy request.

 See FN

 [48] Forty eight  [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as also being from him [Muhammad]. It is in this supplication (al-du`ā’):

“O My God! I supplicate Thee by Thy Name (bi-ismika), “O God (yā Allāh)! O God (yā Allāh)! O God (yā Allāh)!  O God (yā Allāh)! O God (yā Allāh)! No God is there except Him, Lord of the Mighty Throne (rabb al-`arsh al-`aẓīm).”

See FN

 [49] Forty nine: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“O My God! I supplicate Thee by Thy  Name (bi-ismika) which is Treasured up (al-makhzūn), Hidden (al-maknūn), Blessed  (al-mubārak), Purified (al-muahhir), Purifying (al-ṭāhir) and Sanctified (muqaddisin).”

See FN = Ramz 52 transmitted by Ibn Abī Qurrat = Muhammad ibn `Alī ibn Ya`qūb ibn Isḥāq ibn Abī Qurrat. … This Du`ā’ is from [Imam Musā] al-Kāzim (7th Imam) fl. 8th cent CE.

These adjectives used of the powerufl Name of God are repeated in many of the scriptural alwāḥ of Baha’u’llah.

 [50] Fifty: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“O Comforter in discomfort [Liberator from unease]  (yā fārij al-ghamm)! O Remover of anxiety (yā kāshif al-hamm)! And O Faithful to the Covenant (yā mūfī al-`ahd)! And O Living One (ayy an), no God is there save Thee!”

See FN 4

 [51] Fifty one: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“Recite the Basmala and the awāliq and say : `

“O Ancient of Days [Pre-existent One] (qadīm)!  O True One (aqq)! O Everlasting (dā’im)!, O Overseer [Upright One] (qā’im)! O Unique One (al-fard)! O All-Perpetual (al-amad)! O  God (Allāh)! O Compassionate (al-raman)! O Compassionate (al-raḥīm)! O Living One (al-ayy)! O Self-Subsisting (Qayyūm)! O  Possessor of Glory and Nobility (dhā’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām)! O Light of the heavens and of the earth (nūr al-samawāt wa’l-ar) and whatsoever is between them! And Lord of the Mighty Throne (al-`arsh al-`aẓīm)! O Whomsover “begetteth not nor is begotten” (yā lam yalid wa lam yulad = Q. 112: 3). “Compared to Him there is no one [who is] equal (kufū an  aad)” ( = Q. 112: 4). O Sufficer (al-kāfī)! O Guide (al-hādī)! O Creator (bārī’)! O Learned One (`ālim)! O Truthful One (ṣādiq)! O “Kāf (letter “K”)-Hā’ (“H”)-Yā (”Y”)-`Ayn (“`”)-Ṣād (“”)” [= Q. 19: 1].  O Lord of Lords (rabb al-arbāb)! O Sayyid of Sayyids (sayyid al-sādāt)! O King of Kings (mālik al-mulūk)! O  Protector [Guardian] of this world and of the hereafter (walī al-dunyā wa’l-ākhira)!

 O my God! Thou art the King (malik) of those in heaven and the King (mailk) of those upon the earth! There is no sovereignty in either of them from other than Thee. Thy Power (qudrat) on earth is even as Thy power (qudrat)  in heaven. Thy Sovereignty (sulṭān) on earth is even as Thy power (qudrat)  in heaven. I supplicate Thee by Thy Noble Name (ismika al-karīm) and by Thy Lumninous Countenance (wajhika al-muinīr). Thou art Powerful over all things.  May blessings be upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad   and may I find speedy release from my suffering. And bring about for me release from every discomfort (ghamm).  Dispell and make tolerable for me every difficulty,  O Most Merciful of the Merciful Ones (arham al-rāḥimīn)”.

See above No. 40

Fn.1  Du`ā’ ( = Ramz  51) as transmitted by Muqatil ibn Sulayman in a response to a question to be taught of al-ism al-a`zam. Associated with power over life and death.

 [52] Fifty two: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

See FN = Ramz 52 transmitted by `Aṭā ibn  Abī al-Rabbāḥ one learned among the Fuqaha’ (jurists) of Mecca… Muqātil…

 [53] Fifty three: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“in the Kitab al-Du`ā’ of  Ibn Abī Layla [it is stated] that the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam) is `O God (yā Allāh)! O Merciful One (al-Raman), the Possesor of Might and Nobility (dhā’l-jalāl wa’l-ikrām).

 [54] Fifty four: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“It is He, verily, is the One (al-aad), the All-Enduring (al-amad).”

 [55] Fifty  five: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“In the Kitāb al-Tahajjud (“The Book of  the Night Vigil“) [Muhammad ibn `Alī ibn Ya`qūb ibn Isḥāq] ibn Abī Qurrat. …from [Imam Musā] al-Kāzim (7th Imam) fl. 8th cent CE. It is in this Du`ā’. You should say three times Yā Nūr (O Light)! Yā Quddūs (O Sanctified, Holy One)! Then three times, `Yā ayy (O Living One)! Yā Qayyūm (O Self Subsisting)! Then three times, Yā ayy an lā yamūt (“O living One Who dieth not”). Then three times, Yā ayy an  ḥīna  lā Ḥayya (O Living One [never] momentarily not Living). Then three times,  Yā ayy lā ilāha illa anta (O Living One! No God is there save Thee).  Then three times, bilā ilāha ila anta (`I beseech Thee through `No God is there except Thee’). Then three times, `I beseech Thee through Thy Name Bismillāh al-Raman al-Raḥīm (In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate), the Mighty (al-`azīz), the Mubīn (the Luminous)!”

See FN

 [56] Fifty six: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“in the Du`ā’ (Supplication) of Ya`qūb (Jacob) which was taught to him by the angel of death (malak al-mawt) for such is indeed repeated in preliminary section of the foregoing (book = the Kitāb al-Tahajjud (“The Book of  the Night Vigil“) [Muhammad ibn `Alī ibn Ya`qūb ibn Isḥāq] ibn Abī Qurrat)  dealing with the supplications of the Prophets and the Imams (adi`yya al-anbiyā’ wa al-a’imma), may the blessings of God be upon them.

This is most probably an allusion to the story contained in Genesis XX  and embellished in Jewish Midrashic literatures relating how Jacob wrestled with God in angelic form at the time when he was renamed Israel (= `Contender with God’). His being taught the al-ism al-a`am at this time is ADD HERE

Genesis 32

"24 ¶ And Jacob was left alone; and there  wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy  name shall be called no more Jacob, but  Israel:  for as a  prince hast thou  power with God and with men, and hast  prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my  name? And he  blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place  Peniel: for I have  seen God  face to face, and my life is preserved.
31 And as he passed over  Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.

 [57] Fifty seven: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“O my God I beseech Thee by Thy Name which is Treasured up (al-makhzūn), Hidden (al-maknūn), Mighty (`aẓīm), the Mightiest (al-a`am), the Most Majestic (al-ajall), the Greatest (al-akbar), the Evidential (al-burhān), the Real [True] (al-aqq), the Help in Peril (al-muhaymin), the Sanctified [Holy] (al-quddūs).

The One [Name] which is Light from Light (al-nūr  min nūr) and  Light with Light (nūr ma` nūr) [which is] “Light upon Light” (al-nūr `alā nūr) [Q. 24: 36] and Light above Light (nūr fawq  nūr); [which is]  Light in  Light (nūr fī nūr), a Light (nūr) which radiates (aḍā’a  cf. diyā’) forth dispelling every darkness;  through which every accursed tyrant [colossus, oppressor…] (kullu jabbār rajīm) is annihilated.

By means of it thou shall neither be able to raise up heaven (al-samā’) nor raise up the earth (al-ar), O thou who believes in it , fearful of every  ADD HERE

FN. 1 No. 57.

… A man came to Imam `Alī… and said, `Teach me the al-ism al-a`am (Mightiest Name)

 [58] Fifty eight: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being transmitted by [Imam Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq (d. XXX/765), He said,

As transmitted from [Imam Ja`far] al-Ṣādiq… He said. `And in it is the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam). Supplicate through it every morning [thus], according to the letters of the [Arabic] alphabet: “O my God! I entreat Thee through the [initial letter] “A” of the Origination (alif al-ibtidā’), through the [initial letter] “B” (bā’) of the Glory-Beauty (bi-bā’ al-bahā’), etc., unto the end.  Mention of such has been registered in the fourteenth section of the [expository] comment on the Dawn Prayer (ta`qīb ṣalāt al-ṣubḥ).

 [59] Fifty nine: [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in], Section Fifty-Nine: These are the sigla [letters] (al-aḥraf) of the [graphic] form of the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam).

The graphical form of the mightiest name cited by al-Kaf`ami has the usual seven sigla which is traditionally  traced back to a poem of Imam `Ali (d. 40/661).  Centrally important are the Shī`ī representations of the Mightiest Name of God certain of which are based upon directives spelled out in a tradition ascribed to Imam `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d.40/661), the son in law of the prophet Muhammad. The graphic form of the al-ism al-a`ẓam is depicted in poetical form as a seven-fold series of letters, signs, seals or sigla (pl. sing. sigil > Lat. Siglum =lit. “seal” ; the singular sigil indicates a symbol designed for a specific magical purpose is called a sigil). 

He [Imam `Alī] said:



This sevenfold expression of the al-ism al-a`zam is found in numerous Islamic literatures. It sometimes concludes with a final pentalpha though this is not registered here.

These seven successive letters are a sigla  of the `Mightiest Name’ of God’

  • [1] A Pentalpha or five [six] pointed star.
  • [2] Three rods with a line over them
  • [3] A truncated form of the Arabic letter “m”(mīm)
  • [4] Like but not exactly a ladder
  • [5] Four Lines
  • [6] A form of the Arabic letter “h” (hā’)
  • ثم واو منكوس كانبوب حجام و ليس بمحجم
  • [7] An extended, inverted Arabic letter “w” (wāw): "Then an inverted [letter] wāw و ) like the syphon of a phlebotomist  (ka‑anbūb ḥajjām, "tube of  the cupper") though not a cupping glass (miḥjam).


Above is the 7th depiction within Imam `Alī’s poetic and graphic description of the sevenfold sigla or cipher‑letter‑signs  constituting one of the graphic representations of the Greatest Name of God. The  seven successive `letters' are a sigla  of the `Mightiest Name’ of God’ They have been interpreted to look like this in one Qajar period Shaykhi manuscript (which adds a second khatam in the form of a pentalpha or five pointed star:

This graphic representation of the `Mightiest Name’ is based on an Arabic poem attributed to Imam `Alī existing in various recensions, a short one and a longer recnesion. This short one is also relayed by the `Father of Tafsīr’ and Rabbī of the Arabs’  Ibn `Abbās (d.68/687). 

These poetical lines of Imam `Alī normally continue in the short recension  with the following further statement of Imam `Alī: 


“This is [representative] of the Mighty Name (al‑ism al‑ mu`aẓẓim); If you knew it not aforetime, then know it now! O bearer of the Mighty Name (ṣāḥib al‑ism al‑`aẓīm), take sufficiency in it, for you shall be preserved from misfortunes and kept safe thereby. It is the Name of God (ism Allāh) ‑‑ exalted be His glory ‑‑ unto all humankind whether pure Arab (faṣīḥ)  or non-Arab (a`jam).” (Arab. text cited from  al‑Būnī, Shams, cited  Winkler, 1930:69‑71 with German trans. 71; text and French trans. Anawati, 1967:24, 27; Eng. trans. MacEoin, 1982 [BSB 1/1:4‑14] = 1992:93‑97  = App. XXIII. I have adapted MacEoin’s translation in the light of the other translations and al‑Būnī’s Shams.

One of the longer versions  of the Hadīth from Imam `Alī is reproduced below as it is cited in a fn. (1) to the above section 59 of the Misbāḥ paragraphs expository of the `Mightiest Name’ (Beirut ed. 1424/2003, pp. 417-8):

An Ismā’īli  commentary on the Graphic form of the Mightiest Name of God

Perhaps dating 700 years before Sayyid Kazim Rashti  wrote his commentary is the Ismā’īli commentary on the Mightiest Name of God. In 1943 Strothmann published in the Abhandlungen Der Akadamie der Wissenschaften in Gottingen Phililogisch-Historische Klasse (Series 3, No. 28) 1943 some interesting `Gnosis-Texte Der Ismailiten’ (Ismā’īlī Gnostic Texts) contained in original mss. located in the famous (around c. 1605 founded) and rich in oriental texts Ambrosian Library in Milan (Italy) (Arabische Handschriften Ambrosiania H. 75 ). The Ismā’īlī texts are introduced on pp.1-62 of the Strothmann section with the `Four Arabic Ismā’īlī’ texts, printed on pp. 1-180. The fourth of them is the Risālat al-Ism al-a`ẓam (Treatise on the Mightiest Name [of God]) occupying just 5 pages (pp. 171-176) appended on pp. 178-180 by a al-Kitābat al-sirriyya (“Note on the Mysterious Sigla”) or a key to an Arabic secret alphabet utilized in the latter work.
The Risālat al-Ism al-a`ẓam opens with the standard basmala … and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad and Imam `Alī then the other Ismā’īlī Imams and finally upon Our Master and Our Sayyid, the [Ismā’īlī ] “Imam of Our Age”, al-Ṭayyib Abī al-Qāsim (d. c. 500?/1106-7??), the son of al-Āmir bi-Ḥakīm Allāh (d. 524/1130) the 20th Musta’lī Imam. Though he was murdered or deceased as an infant al-Tayyib (after whom the Tayyibiyya branch of the Ismā’īllis is named- they are related to the Indian Bohra Isma'ili faction) was later recognized as the Imam by some Musta`lī groups in Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

This possibly 12th cent CE Ismā’īlī treatise on the Mightiest Name may be the earliest commentary on the graphical Shī`ī form of the Mightiest Name. Each of the 7 sigla are given a detailed exposition in the light of Ismā’īli gnosis, mysticism and numerology. 12 elements are found to constitute the 7 sigla which are exegetically-eisegetically related to the 12 letters composing the shahada—lā ilāha ila Allāh… The inverted letter wāw is, among other things equated with the First Intellect…

It is said to have been described by al-Ḥakīm (the Wise One = Imām `Alī ?cf. the Ismā’īlī Imām) through his saying -- An early recension of the Poem of `Alī is cited:

• “It is [2] three rods after [1] a seal (khātim) after the likeness of a straightened lance;

• [3] A [letter] mīm etc  • [4] Sullam ilā al-ma`mūl but not a sullam • [5] •  [6] •  [7] And a hā’ and a wāw upturned
  In the Risālah on the Mightiest Name he is depicted as Amīr al-Mu`minīn (Commander of the Faithful), and the Locus of Divine Bounty and Nobility…

Muḥyī al Dīn Aḥmad b. `Alī al Būnī (d. 622 /1225).

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Important in  respect of the graphic and other forms of the Mightiest Name are the forty or more esoteric and sometimes occult-magical writings of Aḥmad ibn `Alī [Muḥyī al Dīn Abū’l `Abbas] ibn al Būnī (d. Cairo c. 622/1225). A recension of his four volume (500pp) Kitāb shams al ma`ārif wa laṭā’if al awwārif (`The Book of Sun of Gnosis and the Subtleties of .. Cairo, 1904) is fairly well known in various of its three or more recensions of varying length. It was certainly known in Qajar, 19th century Iran. This work makes creative use of abjad and other number correspondences, (magic) number letter squares and deals with jafr and the construction of amulets and circles of astronomical, talismanic and magical import.
The Shams al-ma`āraf contains detailed comments upon numerous theologically loaded divine names and attributes, including the ninety nine al asmā’ al ḥusnā, the `most beautiful names’ of God listed in various traditions ascribed to the prophet Muhammad and the Imams (cf. Biḥār 2 XX:XX). Other names, including those of the mother of Mūsā (Moses), miscellaneous arcane scripts and components of the secreted al ism Allāh al a`ẓam (`Mightiest Nameof God’) are discussed. Angelological and other matters rooted in or expressive of Isrā’īliyyāt are also present. Goldziher, Vajda and others have touched upon aspects of the occasionally Jewish rooted and related magical, mystical, theological, angelological and other aspects of this influential work.

The Shams al ma`ārif of al-Būnī identifies and discusses the Divine Name through which Moses was commissioned when God proclaimed , "I verily am God, no God is there except Me" . It was by means of the mightiest Name of God (al ism al a`ẓam) that Jesus resurrected the dead. Though al Būnī states that Jesus utilzed the "greatest, mighty, greatest Name of God" (al ism [Allāh] al a`ẓam … (Shams I:52) he also registers several supplementary traditions which spell out the text of the life giving prayer more precisely. In the section specifically devoted to this matter the following tradition is related from Abū Hudhayl who transmitted the tradition that Jesus would bow twice in prayer (raka`tayn) then fall prostrate and address God with the following six Divine Names: • Yā Qadīm (O Ancient!). • Yā Dā’im (O Everlasting!). • Yā Aḥad. (O One!) • Yā Wāḥid (O Unicity!). • Yā Ṣamad (O Eternal!) (Shams, 54). Much space is given to traditions associated with the ism Allāh al a`ẓam several different interpretations of which are given (Shams, ADD ).

A version of the ḥadīth from Imam `Alī is cited by Muḥyī al Dīn Aḥmad b. `Alī al Būnī (d. 622 /1225), author of the celebrated Shams al Ma`ārif [al kubrā] and a master of arcane computations surrounding the Names and Attributes of the Godhead. He reports this tradition from `Alī on the authority of the greatly respected `Father of Islamic exegesis’ (tafsīr) `Abd Allāh ibn `Abbās (d. c.68 /687) which includes a seventh sigla or inverted form to the Arabic letter wāw (= ൦ = و)

The Blessed Supplication (al-du`a’ al-mubāraka) :


In the above extract from the Kitāb Shams al ma`ārif … of al-Būnī there is citation of the seven-fold graphical sigla constituting the Mightiest Name of God and a al-du`a’ al-mubāraka (“blessed supplication” ) associated with it which translates as follows:

“Oh my God!
I beseech Thee the (letter) “h” (“hā’” =ه ) of Thy Name
which is assuredly supremely Great (a`ẓam)!
And by the three rods and the straightened [“formative”] (muqawwim] (letter) “A” (al-alif al-muqawwa[i]m) (cf. the alif-like “straightened lance” [ ]).
And by the blind, truncated (letter) = )
م “M” ( (al-mīm al-ṭamīs al-abtar).
And by the Ladder (al-sullam) and the thing fourfold which is like a palm but wristless!
And by the the (letter) “H” (hā’” = ھ ) which is cleft in twain!
And by the Mighty (letter) = و ൦ “W” (al-wāw al-mu`aẓẓam)!
For such is the substance [form] of Thy Noble, Mightiest Name
(ṣūrat ismikā al-sharīf al-a`ẓam).
Then blessing be upon our Master Muhammad after the number of every letter which flows out from the Pen (al-qalam); such is for the realization [fulfillment] of one’s needs (naqshī ḥājatī)” (see Wehr 212a).

In this 7 X 7 “magic square” type configuration al-Būnī, there are seven Mightiest Name elements or “letters” qhixh fill the whole square. They are also associated with the following seven letters of the alphabet (abjad values noted):

[1] ف= fā’ (= 80)  [2] = ج jīm (= 3) [3] س = sīn (= 60) [4] ت = tā’ (=400) [5] ط = ṭā’ (=9) [6] ح = ḥā’ (=8) [7] ز= zā’ ( = 7)

Translation after No. 7

[8] “Scriptography above the Heights (khuṭūṭ `alā al-a`rāf), a shimmering [sparkling, gleaming] are their cryptograms [sigla-pictorial images] (rusūm) [9] Above them evidences of Light (barāhīn al-nūr)!  So know [that the intention] [10] is eight [sigla] yet [incorporating]   thirteen  (?) [minor sigla]  (qaṣd ba`du  `ashrat thalathat  [thultha]) [11] since you imagine.. (?) [12] Beyond [them] something of the Divine Light ( min al-nūr al-ilāhī ) of His Glorious Grandeur (jalāl) [13] [Appropriate] unto every  generation (nabī?),  whether pure Arab (faṣīḥ)  and non-Arab (a`jam)... [14] On account of [from] the deepest gnosis [supernal Heights] of the "Torah" there are [allotted] four [sigla-aspects of the Mightiest Name] [15] And four [sigla-aspects of the Mightiest Name] are [expressed] in the Injīl (Evangelion, Gospel) of Jesus Son of Mary; [16] And five [sigla-aspects derive] from the Qur'ān, for such is their completion. [17] So remain aloof [be humbled] from that Mighty, Magnificant [Incomparable] Name (al-ism al-`aẓīm al-mu`aẓẓim)! [18] Then, O Bearer of the Name which, exalted be its Power [19] Every cunning imposter (al-makkār) yearned to attain [it] …

The commentary on the Graphic form of the Mightiest Name of God by Sayyid Kazim al-Husayni al-Rashti (d. 1259/1843): 

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The sometimes cryptic vocabulary of the Bab appear to be derived from this extended description of the graphical form of the mightiest Name ascribed to Imam `Ali. e.g. his use of khatt relative to “Scriptography above the Heights (khuṭūṭ `alā al-a`rāf) in verse of  his Qayyum al-asma' (mid. 1844 CE). 

 [601] Sixty : [The al-ism al-a`ẓam (Mightiest Name)] is [specified] as being [expressed in],

“Yā Huwa (“O He”)! Yā Huwa (“O He”)!  Yā man lā yalam mā huwa illā huwa

 “O He !  O He! O He Who is unknown as He is to any save Him!”



Shaykh Amad ibn [Muhammad ibn] Fahd [al-Hillī (fl. 9th cent AH =  15th-16th cent. CE)  possible teacher of Sayyid Muhammad al-Nurbaksh (d. 869/1464), founder of the Nurbakhshiyya, a Shi`i offshoot of the Kubrwaiyya Sufi order] said  in  his `Uddat [al-Da`ī] ( “The Preparedness of the Supplicator”)

`So these are the sixty sayings.  Other than the foregoing [sayings] which are mentioned in this our book are [other] Du`ā’s (al-ad`iyya = “supplications”) in which the `Mightiest Name’ was transmitted; including the Du`ā’ al-Jawshān  (`The Supplication of the Jawshan’),  the Du`ā’ al-Mathlūl (`The Supplication of the Lame Man’), the Du`ā’ al-Mujīr (`The Supplication of the al-Mujīr),  the Du`ā’ al-Ṣaḥīfa (The Supplication of the Scriptural Scroll’) and yet others besides.

Ibn Fahd al-Hillī, `Uddat al-Da’ī wa Najjāj al-Sa`ī.  Beirut (?): al-Ma`ārif al-Islamiyya,  XXXX/200? (500pp.)

There also  exists a Persian trans. of the `Uddat al-Da’ī  = Tarjamah-i Farsi-yi 'Uddat al-Da'i  by Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Fahd al-Hilli Asadi. Tehran: Kitābkhānah -y i Shams, 1960.

Concluding Supplementary Traditions

(1) The author of the book Baṣā’ir al-Darajāt  mentioned something [about the Mightiest Name] transmitted from [Imam] Ja`far al-Ṣādiq :

“He, exalted be He, made His Mightiest Name (ismihi al-a`am) to consist of  three and seventy letters. He gave Adam  twenty and five (25 ) letters and He gave Noah  fifteen (15 ). He gave Abraham eight (8), Moses four (4) and Jesus two (2) letters through which two he enlivened the dead and healed the lame and the blind. And he gave Muhammad seventy and two letters (72). And He, praised be He, has taken to Himself but a single letter” (Misbah, 398). 

(2) Supplementary tradition two

In another tradition from one of them [the Imams]

There was with Āṣaf but a single letter of the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`am) and through it he obtained the Throne of Bilqīs (`arsh al-bilqīs)  [Queen of Sheba]  before the withdrawal of the glance (irtidād al-arf). And on Our part we [Muslims obtained] of the Mightiest Name (al-ism al-a`am)  seventy and two letters and one letter God took to Himself, glorified be He”. 

(3) Supplementary tradition three

In the Kitāb al-Tawḥīd from [Imam] Ja`far al-Ṣādiq :

There is no abridgement if God, exalted be He, made His names (asmā’) to be of four portions. Of these He disclosed three for the indigent [poor] (or favored?) among the creatures (li-fāqa khuluq) but veiled from them the al-ism al-a`am (Mightiest Name) which is Hidden (al-maknūn) and Treasured up (al-makhzūn). He established for every one of the evident [known] Names (al-asmā’ alk-ẓāhir) four pillars (arkān) though a single pillar consists of thirty Names (asmā’). So the Pillars are twelve and the Names are three hundred and sixty Names such as : al-Raman (the Compassionate) al-Rahīm (the Merciful), the King (al-malik), al-Quddūs (the Sanctified), the Creator (al-khāliq), al-Bārī` (the Originator),  al-ayy (the Living One), al-Qayyūm (the Self-Subsisting).  Lethargy [slumber] does not overtake Him neither does the sleep [cf. Q. 2:255a] of the originator [creator] (nawm al-munshī), al-Badī` (the Wondrous / Novel Creator”), al-`Aliyy (the Elevated), al-`Aẓīm (the Mighty)…  And so on until the 360 Names are completed.” 

(4) Supplementary tradition four

 And transmitted from [Imam `Alī] al-Riḍā’:

“God selected for Himself (linafsihi) Names (asmā’) through which He can be supplicated. The first of those He selected was al-`Alī  al-`aẓīm (`The Elevated, the Mighty’ or `The Mighty Name `Alī’ ) for this is the Most Sublime of all things and an expression of their Most Greatness (a`amihā)”. 

This tradition obviously express the elevated  imamological supremacy of  Imam `Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib for Shī`īs the successor of the Prophet Muhammad.

Some Further Additional Islamic references to al-ism al-a`am

Compiled by SL

 Supplication for the month of Rajab :


أسْألُكَ بِاسْمِكَ الأعْظَمِ الأجَلِّ الأكْرَمِ الّذي وَضَعْتَهُ عَلى النَّهارِ فَأضاءَ وَعَلى اللّيلِ فأظْلَمَ.

“I supplicate Thee through Thy Mightiest, Most Majestic, Most Honorable Name (bi-ismika al-a`am al-ajall al-akrām), which Thou set down upon the noon [day] time (al-nahār) such that it radiated forth [light] and [placed it] upon the Night (al-layl) which then proffered darkness…”