Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
وَللهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
“To Allah belongs the Most Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them.” (7:180)
Calling on Allah means praising and worshipping Him with His Beautiful Names, and making du‘ā’ to Him with them.
A famous example of this is in the ḥadīth of Buraydah (raḍiy Allāhu ‘anhu) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ heard a man saying:
اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنِّيْ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ أَنْتَ اللهُ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ الْأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ الَّذِيْ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُوْلَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
“O Allah, I ask You as I bear witness that You are Allah, there is no god but You, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has not given birth and was not born, and to Whom no one is equal.”
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ remarked: “By the One in Whose Hand is my life, He has certainly asked Allah with His Greatest Name; when He is supplicated by it, He responds, and when asked, He gives.” (Tirmidhī)
He ﷺ also said: “Supplicate frequently with:
يَا ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ
O Lord of Majesty and Honour.” (Tirmidhī)
The Names of Allah
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Indeed Allah has 99 Names; whoever preserves them will enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
Preserving them includes:
(1) Memorising them
(2) Understanding their meanings
(3) Praising Allah and calling upon Him through them
(4) Acting upon what they necessitate.
How Can I Ask through His Names?
Ask Allah with His Greatest Names. Similarly, relevant Names can be called upon for specific requests. For example, ‘Yā Tawwāb (O Acceptor of repentance), accept my repentance.’
Remove the ‘al’ when invoking Allah with His Names; so you would say ‘Yā Razzāq’ and not ‘Yā al-Razzāq,’ for example.
Also, notice how specific Names have been mentioned in many of the Qur’ānic and Prophetic supplications. Reflecting on these will help you understand how to make your own supplications with the Most Perfect Names of Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā).
Asking Allah through His Oneness (Tawhid)
Calling upon Allah through His Oneness is one of the most powerful ways to make du‘ā’. The grief-stricken Prophet, Yunus (‘alayhis-salām) cried out to his Lord:
لَا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ
The Prophet ﷺ said that no one supplicates with this du‘ā’ except that his supplication is accepted. And nobody supplicates with it except that Allah removes his difficulties. (Tirmidhī)
In this du‘ā’, Yunus (‘alayhis-salām) asked Allah through the following steps (known as tawassul in Arabic):
- Invoking the Oneness of Allah and affirming that no one deserves to be worshipped except Him.
- Declaring Allah’s absolute perfection and negating any faults from Him.
- Acknowledging one’s own wrongdoing.