YÂ’ ALLÂH! (O Allah!) ALLÂHUMMA! (Our Lord!…), RABBANA (Our Lord,…), RABBÎ (My Lord!…)


These are words of address used when we call upon Allah in supplication. We may use—as we wish—his proper name, “Allah,” or, His functional relationship to His creatures, “Rabb,” or, any of His “Attributes of Perfection” (literally, “Most Beautiful Names” – Asmâ’ Allâh Al-Husna). Allah mentors, and provides the best for, those who desire to please Him and who make a point to keep within His boundaries.

And 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: they shall be requited for all that they were wont to do! [Sûrat Al-Aʿrâf, 7:180]

Call on your Lord with humility and in private: For Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds.  Do no mischief on the earth after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good. [Sûrat Al-Arâf, 7:55-56]

Say:  “Call upon Allah, or call upon AlRamân: by whatever name ye call upon Him (it is well): For to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.  … Say: “Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation: Yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory! [Sûrat Al-Isrâ’, 17:110…111]

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god–the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), The Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His praises and glory: And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. [Sûrat Al-Hashr, 59:23-24]

The Prophet’s Prayer is replete with supplications beginning with “Allâhumma“:

Allâhumma, aghfir lî... (Our Lord!  Forgive me.)

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Allah instructed the various prophets to be regular in prayer and praise of Him, seeking His guidance and trusting Him to make good our deeds:

I have chosen thee [Moses]: Listen, then to the inspiration (sent to thee). Verily I am Allah: There is no god but Me: So serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise. [Sûrat Tâ Hâ, 20:13-14]

{Adam and Eve] They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy mercy, we shall certainly be lost.” [Sûrat Al-Arâf, 7:23]

Noah said: “O my Lord! I do seek refuge with Thee, lest I ask Thee for that of which I have no knowledge. And unless Thou forgive me and have Mercy on me, I should indeed by lost!” [Sûrat Hûd, 11:47]


As Muslims we are expected to keep our Lord ever in our hearts and minds—and His Guidance always fresh in mind as our reference point.

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah. [Sûrat Al-Aḥzâb, 33:21]

But keep in remembrance the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him wholeheartedly. (He is) Lord of the East and the West; there is no god but Him: take Him therefore for (thy) Disposer of Affairs. [Sûrat Al-Muzzammil, 73:8-9]

The remembrance of Allah is to be an ever-present activity in our life, on the model of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ.

So give glory to Allah, when ye reach eventide and when ye rise in the morning. Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline.  [Sûrat Al-Rûm, 30:17-18]

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets. And Allah has full knowledge of all things.

O ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do so often; and glorify Him morning and evening. [Sûrat Al-Aḥzâb, 33:40-42]

And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land and seek of the bounty of Allah: and celebrate the praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper. [Sûrat Al-Jumuᶜah, 62:10]

Swearing By Ultimate Power

It is the practice in traditional cultures, that one swears by the name of Deity, or appeals to that which one considers holy, so as to guarantee truth value. The idea is that if one should be found to be lying under oath, he has already professed his willingness to accept punishment. In modern justice systems one is required to take an oath “to tell the truth, the whole truth”— and there are consequences for swearing falsely.

In the Quran there are many instances of Allah emphasizing His truths by calling to witness (“swearing” by) some element of His creation:

Nûn.  By the pen and by the (record) which (men) write—thou art not, by the grace of thy Lord, mad or possessed. [Sûrat Al-Qalam, 68:1-2]

By the (winds) sent forth one after another (to man’s profit); which then blow violently in tempestuous gusts, and scatter (things) far and wide; then separate them, one from another, then spread abroad a message, whether of justification or of warning—assuredly, what ye are promised must come to pass. [Sûrat Al-Mursalât, 77:1-7]

By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence; by those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed); and by those who glide along (on errands of mercy), then press forward as in a race, then arrange to do (the commands of their Lord) —one Day everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion [Sûrat Al-Nâziât, 79:1-6]

By the sun and its (glorious) splendour; by the moon as it follows (the sun); by the day as it shows up (the sun’s) glory; by the night as it conceals it; by the firmament and its (wonderful) structure; by the earth and its (wide) expanse; by the soul and the proportion and order given to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right—truly he succeeds that purifies it. And he fails that corrupts it.  [Sûrat Al-Shams, 91:1-10]

By the fig and the olive and the Mount of Sinai, and this city of security—We have indeed created man in the best of moulds [Sûrat Al-Tîn, 95:1-4]

By the (steeds) that run, with panting (breath), and strike sparks of fire, and push home the charge in the morning, and raise the dust in clouds the while, and penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en mass—truly man is to his Lord ungrateful and to that (fact) he bears witness (by his deeds), and violent is he in his love of wealth. [Sûrat Al-Âdiyât, 100:1-8]

By (the token of) time (through the ages), verily man is in loss except… [Sûrat Al-Aṣr, 103: 1-2]

Allah Swears By Himself—Than Which There Is No Greater

The sûrahs of the Quran open with Allah appealing to two of His own Names which complement each other [explanation from Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Manâr Al-Sabîl, 1:48]:

bi ismi Allâhi al-ramâni al-raîm

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

AlRamân – grace inherent in and inseparable from God’s Being: Merciful in nature

Al-Raîm – manifestation of God’s grace both in His creation and in the effect of that grace upon it: Merciful in activity

There are ayât of the Quran in which Allah swears by Himself in Third Person, that is, by referring to Himself as if He were an observer, someone other than the Speaker. Here he speaks to Prophet Muhammad regarding his status as decision-making leader over those who have accepted the Message he brought to them:

We sent not a Messenger but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee [O Muhammad] and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.  But no, by your Lord, they can have no (real) faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. [Surat Al-Nisâ’, 4:64-65]

Other such example are found in 15:92, 16:56, 16:63, 19:68, 51:23.






Allah also swore in the Quran through the Prophet :

Verily, by thy life (O Prophet), in their wild intoxication they wander in distraction, to and fro. [Sûrat Al-Ḥijr, 15:72]

and also by the Revelation that was coming down to the Prophet :

By the Qur’an full of wisdomthou art indeed one of the messengers on a Straight Way. It is a Revelation sent down by (Him), the Exalter in Might, Most Merciful. [Sûrat Yâ Sîn, 36: 2-5]

By the Book that makes things clear—We have made it a Qur’an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom). [Sûrat Al- Zukhruf, 43:2]

See also 38:1, 44:2,50:1.




In the Bible, also, we find mentioned the same practice of God swearing by Himself as part of the story of Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-17):


Bible, Letter to the Hebrews 6:13 … When God made his promise to Abraham, He made a vow to do what he had promised. Since there was no one greater than himself, he used his own name when he made his vow.

We continue, Inshâ’Allah, in Part 2, to look at the matter of taking on oaths, “swearing by Allah” and engaging in appeals to Allah. In Part 3, Inshâ’Allah, we explore the meaning of “OMG” and its suitability on the tongue of Muslims, in the context of “swearing by Allah” and appealing to Allah.


  • Dolores Mumin

    September 14, 2021 - 9:46 am

    ASA. The very first statement I read in this article is, God has a name, is puzzling to me. Many of my arguments with non-Muslims / non-Believers is in reference to “your God verses my God.” I tell them that there is only One God (one creator) and their response back to me is “your God has a name” , like Jehovah, Buddah, etc. I explain that Allah is the Arabic language for God, just like if you spoke any other languages , the same subject will have a different sound based on that language spoken. Please tell me whether my struggle for the past 60 plus years has all been worthless. Word matter. Dolores

  • Abdah Al-Huzhriyyah

    September 14, 2021 - 7:37 pm

    ALLAH is the Arabic language pronunciation of the personal name of the one Deity, as found in the Quranic revelation to the Arab prophet, Muhammad (SAAS). it is equivalent to ELOH(im) as found in the Hebrew language [Jewish] Bible and likewise to the Aramaic version of the name, ALAHA, spoken by Jesus (AS), spoken by Jesus’ immediate followers and spoken by Aramaic-speaking Christians into modern times. Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are all Semitic languages; thus their words are similar in pronunciation. Similarly, English ‘God’ and German ‘Gott’ are similar since both are ‘Germanic’ languages.
    In addition, there are various attributive names for God used in the Hebrew Bible, with connections to narrative events and persons. Such attributive names are found in English, too: the Almighty, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, Providence.
    YHWH, read as JEHOVAH by Christians, is an ancient Hebrew name impressed upon the people of Moses (Hebrew Bible, Exodus 6:1-8) as their special identifying link with the Deity who appeared to the Sons of Israel’s spiritual and ethnic ancestors, Abraham – Isaac – Jacob.
    In the non-Abrahamic religions, you would have to ask for the personal name of the Creator, the one true Deity from which all else originates. Does ‘Buddha’ [for example] fit that function? (No, ‘Buddha’ is part of a different kind of philosophical concept, in which the enlightened human being is central.) Do those other religions have an equivalent to the Islamic concept of the one who is the origin of all things, who reveals His truth to people through prophets?
    In English, ‘God’ has become the conventional name to match meaning with the ‘Judeo-Christian’ Deity. English-speaking Muslims commonly use ‘God’ when speaking to other English-speaking people; or they may prefer to use ‘Allah’ to identify fully with the deep content of Islamic tradition. Muslims may alternatively wish to highlight a characteristic of Allah by using AL-RAHMAN (the Merciful) or AL-RAZZAQ (the Provider), etc., depending upon what they want to emphasize about Almighty God’s ability or predisposition in relationship with His creation.
    Islam is heir to a number of attributive divine names, teaching us the multi-faceted nature or character of God. To bring us into a more intimate relationship with God, we are invited (Q 10:106-107; 17:110) to make use of Asma’ Al-Husna, ‘the Most Excellent Names,’ when we call upon God in our supplications for His assistance. In Arabic, an ISM, ‘name, (plural: ASMA’ ‘names) refer not only to a name by which one is called but also to a descriptive term which captures the essence of what that name is attached to.

  • Farooq Ali

    October 16, 2021 - 7:48 pm

    “We have in our language no proper name for God; the word God being a common, or general name, expressing all chief objects of worship, true or false” (Benjaminnnn Franklin 1850, 54). The word God is neither a Bible word nor a proper name for God, but a pagan word designed to play folly or hypocrisy in Christianity. Western Christianity is against Christ and Christian East for the unique name of Allah. Christians contend among themselves: “Your God versus our God.”
    Farooq Ali

    “Allah …. the same word is found in Hebrew and Aramaic as well as in ancient Arabic (Sabaean)” (The online historic 1911 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Did Allah change His name in Toran and Injeel?

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