The most comprehensive name of the Supreme Being, who created all existence out of nothing and upon whom the continuation and development of everything depends… This name has never been given as a name to any other being than Him in any period of history (Maryam, 19:65).

Although much has been said about the origin of the word “Allah,” it is not derived from the opinion of the majority. Against the claim that the name “Allah” derives from “al-ilah”, Muhammed Hamdi Yazır rejects this opinion by stating that this name comes before all other names and attributes.

The existence of Allah is spontaneous and necessary; it is the main reason behind everything that exists. Since He is the only real being, the absolute reference point of our understandings is Him. If we try to understand something without taking Him into account, we will have to attribute it to something that is not real. In this situation, our knowledge and wisdom will be a collection of disparate thoughts with disconnected ends that cannot reach tawhid. Our destination will be meaninglessness.

From Him we come, and to Him we go. Any work that does not begin by mentioning His name will fail to achieve the desired results. As we begin to look at our existence with Him in mind, our approach to every detail of life will change. We are no longer what we used to be. This change is also reflected in our daily language. We always remember Him as we express our joy, sadness, surprise, fear, and disappointment (Hasbunallah, Awwal Allah, Mashallah, Inshallah, La hawla wa la quwwata illa Billah, Alhamdulillah, Astaghfirullah...) While this language reflects the faith in us, it also reinforces our faith.

As the essence of Allah comes before all names and attributes, the name “Allah” is “Ism al-Jami” preceded by other names and attributes. Those who say “Allah” have called Him by all his names and have taken refuge in all known and unknown names. We see this predominance of the name “Allah” in the following prayer of our Prophet: “O Allah! I ask You by Your pure, good, and blessed Name which is most beloved by You, which if You are called thereby You answer, and if You are asked thereby You give, if You are asked for mercy thereby You bestow mercy, and if You are asked for relief (from distress) thereby You grant relief.” (Ibn Majah, Du‘a, 9)

However, there is the “Allah” in our minds, and there is the real “Allah” (Saffat, 37:180). There is only one way to know Him properly. It is paying attention to how He describes Himself. The first step to understanding Allah is to understand the Quran (Baqarah, 2:255; Hashr, 59:22-24).

According to the Quran, in order to be a “believer”, it is necessary to believe in the existence of Allah as well as “not ascribing a quality that belongs only to Allah to anyone other than Him” (Isra, 17:42). Those who know their Lord by all of his names know that the expression “There is no god but Allah” means that there is no one “all-knowing,” “omnipotent,” “all-hearing and all-seeing,” and “all-sustaining” other than Allah.