Is it true that Allah has 1001 names? What is the difference between al-Maalik and al-Malik?

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Is it true that Allah has 1001 names? What is the difference between al-Maalik and al-Malik?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them." (al-Araf, 7/180)

The verse above indicates that Allah Almighty has a lot of names. These sublime names, each of which has beautiful and lofty meanings, are called "Asma al-Husna" (Beautiful Names). Some of those names are as follows: "Wahid, Awwal, Akhir, Zahir, Bari, Musawwir, Rahman, Rahim, Hayy, Qayyum, Halim, Karim, Tawwab, Razzaq, Muhyi, Mumit."

Not all of the names of Allah Almighty are known certainly. Some scholars state that there are about one thousand beautiful names. (see Ibn Kathir, Alusi, interpretation of verse 180 of the chapter of al-Araf; 7/180) As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) prays Allah with one thousand and one names and attributes in his special supplication called Jawshan al-Kabir.

While some scholars say that Allah has about four thousand names (see Alusi, ibid), others say Allah has about five thousand names. (see Ibn Kathir, interpretation of the chapter of al-Fatiha)

Most of those names are known by Allah Almighty only. The angels know some of them and the prophets know others along with the angels; the believers know only those that the prophet (pbuh) informed them.

In the hadiths about Asma al-Husna that are narrated in hadiths books like Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi, the Prophet (pbuh) mentions those names one by one and informs us about their virtues. The first part of the hadith in which Asma al-Husna are listed is as follows:   

"Doubtlessly, Allah has ninety-nine names. Allah is one (odd). He likes odd numbers. Allah Almighty will reward a person who lists (mentions) or memorizes those ninety-nine names by sending him to Paradise." (see Bukhari, Tawhid, 12; Muslim, Dhikr, 5-6, Tirmidhi, Daawat, 82)

However, it is not enough to list the names and to memorize them only in order to attain this glad tiding. One should think about the lofty meanings those divine names include and he should not forget to observe their manifestations and reflections in the universe.

For instance, it is necessary not to worry about sustenance by thinking that Allah is Razzaq (the Sustainer). It is necessary to try to obtain sustenance through legitimate means and to be abstinent. It is an aspect of mentioning the name ar-Razzaq thinking that Allah Almighty gives sustenance not only to man but also to billions of living beings and plants from tiny microbes to elephants, from fish as little as fingers to whales weighing tons in the best way and without forgetting any of them.

The names of Allah Almighty are heavenly (divine). Most of those names are mentioned in the Quran and the others were told us by the Prophet (pbuh).

The names Maalik and Malik are among the names of Allah Almighty. The name "Maalik" mentioned in the chapter of al-Fatiha means owner and the word "Malik" means king; they state that Allah Almighty is the owner and king of everything.

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