The 99 Beautiful Divine Names of
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As humanity evolved along the path of spirituality, various aspects and attributes of divinity were sensed. Climbing higher on the scale of the holy path, Man discovered more facets of Allah, or whatever one may call the Absolute. Gradually, the hidden Isis unveiled, and is still unveiling her beauty--her naked Truth. This revelation is an on-going process, for humanity will not cease to struggle for enlightenment being unsatiated with the crumbs or the milk of the Word.
Discovering himself, man discovered God; and the more he grew in self-awareness, the more he discovered the treasures, the various divine elements unawakened within his essence. This was how the various names of God came into existence. Primitive cultures might have referred to the unseen Intelligence with a single appellation, but as they grew in maturity, in awareness, wisdom and understanding, as they unfolded their own innate divinity, more attributes were realized and names were assigned to the God they worshipped, for man inherently felt that the awakened virtues he had are possessed in full perfection by the Source of All. The amount of God-names expands as man develops his Spirit-awareness.
What man formally understood broadly, he now began to apperceive the details, the minor rays of the One Light; and these details, he may subsequently discover, further differentiate themselves ad infinitum. These divine rays or virtues of Allah were personified by the ancients ushering man from the animistic stage to the polytheistic phase. Almost all of the ancient cultures had their pantheons of gods and goddesses, representing externally the inherent, and somewhat dormant spectrum of divine virtues lying hidden within man. Though man be made in God's image, possessing the seeds of divinity, he still reflects poorly the divine attributes and aspects of his Progenitor; thus humanity still needs to grow into God's image and attain its own beautification, acquiring the state of perfection, the evolutionary stage called "Insan Kamil," or "Perfect Human Being."
Polytheism is not merely a concept or untrue. Human beings do evolve into perfection and attain god status as exclaimed by the prophets, "ye are (intrinsically) gods!" An adept on the spiritual path might make a divine virtue a predominant part of its expression that the embodiment of the attribute causes the adept to be universally and celestially recognized as a god of the divine ray itself. Thus, we have Venus, the goddess of Love, Kwan Yin, the goddess of Mercy, Thoth, the god of Wisdom, etc. The gods are embodiments of the ideal and various esoteric practice revolves around the assumption of the forms and characteristics of the gods and goddesses in order to quicken the magician's own divinity and to produce occult effects. The gods, however, do bow in reverence to Allah, the One Essence recognizing and understanding more than what is known to mortal minds.
In Islam, and in al-Hikmah, in general, human figures are not permitted to represent Allah or the divine attributes, as they are considered sacrilegious. Even the portrait of the Prophet was not saved for posterity. This was to avoid making a cult around the personality of the Messenger as was unfortunately done with the Piscean Master.
One of the teachings of Islam is that angels do not descend into houses filled with dogs and images. Though fundamentalists may adhere to the rule of the letter, esoterically, this refers to the unrestrained desires and the idols of the mind. The Divine Ray of the Holy Spirit has trouble entering man through the crown chakra blocked with psychic toxins generated by the impure mind and emotions. This is the esoteric interpretation of Christ knocking at the door and waiting for entry. He who would not purify himself causes the portal to remain barred.
There is an interesting account about images: during the early days of the promulgation of Islam by the walis or saints in Indonesia, the Islamic leaders encountered a problem as the indigenous people of Java were fond of the shadow-puppet theatrical plays. These puppets were in the shape of human figures. In keeping with the Islamic law that human icons were not allowed to be portrayed, they sought to ban this traditional entertainment but feared causing an uproar as a consequence. One of the Walis known as Sunan Kalijaga, intervened, however. His keen mind saw the potential of the plays as a media in conveying the moral teachings of Islam and suggested to the council of the "9 Saints" to allow the continuance of the practice. To comply with the teachings of Islam, he proposed that the human figures of the puppets be caricaturized. Thus deformed images of the shadow-puppets came into being. Samples of these may be found all over our website.
The Divine Names in Islam that have traditionally been passed on to us are 99 in number; the word "Allah" rounds the number to 100. The "Beautiful Divine Names" is probably the development of the 72 divine names of the Schemhamphoras, the 10 God-Names of the Qaballistic Tree of Life, and the other numerous appellations of God to be found in Jewish scriptures. Scholars of Islam may debate as to the legitimacy of the 99 names as a whole, whether they are a revelation from God and a true teaching of the Prophet, or whether they are simply concocted by man; but as occultists, this is of no import. The names are archetypal and may be experienced as realities within the recesses of one's psyche.
Each letter of the Arabic alphabet has a numerological value and is said to be associated with khodams, or angelic servants. The letters are embodiments or are representative of cosmic energies. The combined letters forming the Divine Names are in turn associated with other spirit khodams or classes of the angelic hierarchy. Having numerical values, the combined letters of the Divine Names represent metaphysical structures mathematically-based that possesses esoteric significances. Practitioners normally chant the Names the number of times in accord with its total value. The numerical value of a Name resonates with the power that it represents. Thus chanting the value of a Name or one of its expression mathematically derived therefrom, invokes the power, grace and virtues of the Name into the magician's consciousness. The figures in the table below, extracted from old manuscripts, is the result of just one numerological method of calculating the value of the Names. The Arabic letters, not the Latin, have been used as a basis for this calculation; the various methods of acquiring the value of a Name will not be given here as they are related to initiatic transmissions.
The khodam familiars assigned to the Divine Names may actually represent an angelic class rathers than to specific individual spirits judging from the vague statements of certain Islamic authors. Various lists assign different angels to the Divine Names, however, most of these are probably due to the variations in pronunciation/spelling of the angelic names. According to our compilation of the list below, some angels are associated with more than one Divine Name; thus for instance we have 'Athfayail as the guardian of Al-Lathif and Ash Shakur. As to the accuracy of the list, we leave that to the practitioner to discover through direct experience.
Above we initimated that the angels of the Divine Names may be known through direct experience. In the occult practices of Ilmu Hikmah, the beautiful appellations of Allah are recited for thousands of times per day, sometimes for consecutive months in order to evoke the khodams to "material" appearance. The purpose of the evocation are varied. The angelic servers may be called upon to assist the practitioner in solving the varied problems of life; to provide familiars, to acquire occult powers and abilities, mystical objects, general information and magickal knowledge; to assist in magickal operations, etc.
In Islamic occultism, the interaction with angelic spirits are preferred to the socializing with jinns or the trafficking with demons. Jinns are unpredictable and deceptive while demons are malicious. Orthodox Islam as a rule, does not condone the practice of conjuration as it presents too many dangers for the evolving soul. Al-Hikmah, however, teaches the subject but with the stipulation that the novice be fully guided in the process and apply the strenuous disciplines that refines the soul, awakens the heart and will, and uplifts the intelligence so as to offer protection against the temptations, illusions, deceptions, glamor and maya along the way. Conjurations in al-Hikmah are confined to angels and jinns, and in rare cases to human spirits. "Demons" are not sought for except by the strayers of the path.
Methods of conjuration are numerous. They may be done through the methods of the magickal schools of the Western Tradition (the Golden Dawn, etc), the shamanic process, or the simple zikir in Tasawuf, or Islamic mysticism; though the latter, viewing from a spiritual perspective, does not consider conjuration as of any importance or even as causing obstacles along the path. Al-Hikmah, being eclectic, combines many methods, depending upon various factors. Different methods are also used by different schools of the al-Hikmah tradition. These occult lodges guard their methods with secrecy--or sad to say, with a price.
So far we have mentioned the lower goals and effects of the recitation of the Divine Name. This comes under the province of thaumaturgy. We would like to point out that the chanting of the Divine Names has a more lofty purpose and this is theurgical in nature. Islam refers to the chanting of Divine Names as "zikr." It is widely practiced in the tarikat aspect of Islam. Zikr means "remember." It is the remembrance of Allah, done through contemplation of the name and not mere mechanical chanting. Practitioners of Tasawuf recognize the psychic effects of zikir but stand aloof from them. Their purpose is to unite with Allah, the "unio mystica," through his Divine Names. Zikr somewhat plays the same role as the occult practice of the assumption of godforms.
In the teachings of the Asma ul-Husna or the "Divine Names" of Islamic mysticism, the first step is to know and memorize the names intellectually. Then one contemplates upon the Names, striving to express the divine attributes in daily life. Concomitant to this, one would chant the Names in one's daily practice until overshadowed by them. Knowing all of the Divine Names, not merely intellectually, but experentially is part of the gnostic stage of Islam. Termed "marifat," the gnosis offers the practitioner a greater awareness of the Spiritual Source. Zikr of the Divine Names is just one method of attaining the gnostic state. It leads to the Inner Light and Sound emanating from the Divine Throne.
The Divine Names, like the Urim and Thurim of Judaism, long vanished, may be used as a divinatory system approximating the spiritual consultation system of the I Ching. Chips with the Names inscribed thereon may be constructed and consecrated with the associated Name. These are placed in a talismanic pouch. Inquiries may be made and the chip/s drawn to answer the questions. We will not over-dwell on the mechanics and process of this, leaving it to the ingenuity of the practitioner to develop his/her own methods and reading style. We would just like to add that our many inquirers were amazed at the accuracy of the system as we presented it to them.
Before engaging in any magickal practice, one should undergo a strenuous period of purification, sensitivity training, the unfoldment of the heart and will, the spiritual culture of one's character, the accumulation and comprehension of essential knowledge, the practice of goodwill, and the development of intuition. These would greatly protect and shield the practitioner from assorted problems presented by astral glamor and the illusions on the mental plane.
Such a period of discipline ought to be supervised by a spiritual adept or his representative. This is essential for various reasons; one being that the novice may not know the appropriate standard or criteria with which to evaluate his advancement. Lacking the overseership of an adept might cause the novice to be filled with illusions of personal grandeur, pride, vanity, etc. The pitfalls are indeed numerous. Being predominantly a magician or a mystic causes problems. The way of the heart and the head/will should be in equilibrium. It is the magi that balances both qualities to perfection.
Prior to commencing a rite of invocation of one of the Divine Names, undergo an ablution--a holy wash. Then sit in a quite room and do some rhythmic breathing. If you are conducting your obligatory prayers at the same time, then begin the chanting of the Divine Names after the prayers; if not, offer a general prayer of worship to Allah prior to the zikr. If you know the Al-Fatihah verse, commence with this.
Carefully choose a Divine Name in accord with your need, or you may pick one from your divination pouch as explained earlier. Then recite the name for the amount of times equal to its value; or you may multiply the value with the sacred numbers 19 or 11 to be found structurally in the Quran and chant the resultant amount.
Another method is to chant the Name until you feel that you have reached an inner response. In some specific rites you may be asked to chant for a certain number of times unrelated to the value of the Names. This is permissible so long as there is ground for this. There is much leeway in the practice of the Divine Names. We might also point out that Allah loves odd numbers.
To count the number of chants, a tasbih (rosary) may be used. Use one tasbih for one Divine Name, Mantra or Prayer, as this would charge the rosary with a specific energy and not fill it with cross vibes derived from charging with too many different Names. They may cancel each other out. Stick to this rule--one mantra or Name--one rosary. This would transform the counter into a powerful talisman as the energy of the Name accumulates. Practitioners have found that rosaries are the best counting device, as mechanical counters and watches tend to dysfunction because of the influence of the energy build-up.
When reciting do not phrase the Names with the prefix Al but begin with Ya; and add the suffix "u" to it. Thus for instance, "Al Jabbar" is invoked as "Ya Jabbaru." "Ar Rahim" as "Ya Rahimu."
Begin the recitation with a voice volume-level neither loud nor soft.You may then shift to whispers or to a mental recitation; and back and forth--for variations. Avoid monotony. Recite with full focus, mentally and emotionally, on that attribute of God of the Name in question. Let your consciousness absorb the power of the Names. Do not chant mechanically, but do it with feelings of awe, respect, love, and admiration for the Divine Attribute. Visualize yourself as being filled with rays of light from the celestial realms. Contemplate the names. Chant with a sense of devotion and faith expecting no rewards. Conduct the chanting rite for no other purpose other than to approach closer to the Throne.
After completing the zikr close the session with a brief prayer of thanks.
Regular chanting of the Divine Names affects one psychologically. The practitioner tends to express strongly in his everyday life the Name that he regularly recites in his spiritual disciplines. This is one of the great benefits of the Divine Name recitation. Transforming one's character and evolving the soul should take precedence over the acquisition of earthly possessions. The practice of the chanting also have its effects in the improvement of mundane affairs or unfolding the dormant psychic faculties. This should be considered as blessings and not as the main purpose of the discipline.
Chanting the Divine Names as mentioned before may be done for thaumaturgical or theurgical purposes. Physical needs should be met so that greater time, energy and resources are available for spiritual works. So long as there is a realization that the goals of mundane life do not represent life's purpose, they may be temporarily attended to by any harmless means at one's disposal. Magicians resort to magick.
Below we present an example of a rite of evocation in al-Hikmah of an angel :
If you are interested in evoking the angel Qanyail to assist you with your needs, recite daily after the 5 obligatory prayers the Divine Name "Al'Aziim" (Recite "Ya Aziimu") 1020 times. Do this in a clean room and wearing clean clothings. Repeat this rite daily for two months (perhaps more) on a vegetarian diet until the angel appears. When the spirit manifests, state your need. At each session after reciting the Divine Name for the stated amount of times say the following prayer once :
*In one of his books on the Qabala, Frater Achad explains EL or AL to mean God and LA as "not." Thus AL-LA or ALLAH is the "Ain" or "no-thing"--the inconceivable Absolute God. Allah is to be distinguished from the creator gods, the Elohim, the Demiurgus of the Gnostics, the "Jehovah" of Judaism. Allah is al-Ism al-A'zam, "the Greatest Name." The word Allah contains all of the other 99 divine attributes and aspects, and even more. The word represents the essence of all existences. It is the Absolute of the Absolute; the incomprehensible, the infinite, the unborn, the boundless, etc. Sister Mahwash Hirmendi in one of her works explains that the term Allah contains the five essential meanings or qualities that nothing else possesses. We quote her explanation :
She further points to the eight essentials indicating the perfection of Allah :
**The khodams of the Divine Names Zul Jalali Wal Ikram and Al Ahad are not available in any list that we have come across.
Copyright © 2001 Luxamore
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