1. Knowledge of Allaah
and His Names and Attributes is the noblest and best of all knowledge,
because the level of honour of any kind of knowledge has to do with the
object of knowledge, and the object of knowledge in this case is Allaah, may
He be glorified and exalted, through His Names, Attributes and Deeds.
Occupying oneself with seeking this knowledge and studying it properly is
the pursuit of the highest objective, and acquiring this knowledge is one of
the best gifts a person may be given. Because the Prophet SAW (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained it very clearly and was very keen
to do so, the Sahaabah never disputed in this matter as they did over some
of the rulings (ahkaam).
2. Knowing Allaah makes
a person love and fear Him, and put his hope in Him, and be sincere towards
Him in his actions. This is the essence of human happiness. There is no way
to know Allaah except by knowing His Most Beautiful Names and seeking a
proper understanding of their meanings.
3. Knowing Allaah by
His Most Beautiful Names increases one’s faith, as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan
ibn Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Believing
in and knowing the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah includes the three types
of Tawheed: Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Unity of Divine Lordship), Tawheed
al-Uloohiyyah (Unity of the Divine Nature) and Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat
(Unity of the Divine Names and Attributes). These three types of Tawheed
form the essence and joy of faith (the word translated here as “joy” implies
peace and relief from stress), and this knowledge is the basis and purpose
of faith. The more a person learns about the Names and Attributes of Allaah,
the more his faith increases and the stronger his conviction becomes.”
(Al-Tawdeeh wa’l-Bayaan li Shajarat al-Eemaan by al-Sa’di, p. 41).
4. Allaah created His
creatures to know Him and worship Him. This is what is expected from them
and what they are required to do, because as Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said: “The key to the call of the
Messengers, the essence of their Message, is knowing Allaah through His
Names and Attributes and Deeds, because this is the foundation on which the
rest of the Message, from beginning to end, is built.” (Al-Sawaa’iq
al-Mursalah ‘ala al-Jahamiyyah wa’l-Mu’attilah by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/150-151).
So when a person occupies himself with learning about Allaah, he is doing
what he was created for, but if he ignores the matter, he is neglecting what
he was created for. The meaning of faith is not merely to utter words
without knowing Allaah, because true faith in Allaah means that the slave
knows the Lord in Whom he believes, and he makes the effort to learn about
Allaah through His Names and Attributes. The more he learns about his Lord,
the more he increases in faith.
5. Knowledge of the
Names of Allaah is the basis for all other knowledge, as Ibn al-Qayyim (may
Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Knowledge of the Most
Beautiful Names of Allaah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge, for
the objects of all these other branches of knowledge were either created or
commanded by Him (the various branches of knowledge either deal with objects
created by Him or with the laws and guidance revealed by Him). The reason
for creation and guidance is found in His Most Beautiful Names (because He
is the Creator, He creates things; because He is the Guide to the Straight
Path, He reveals guidance, and so on)… Knowing the Most Beautiful Names is
the basis of all objects of knowledge, because all knowledge stems from
these Names…” (Bada’i' al-Fawaa’id by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/163).