Wednesday, March 26, 2008

100 names, five stories

There seems to be general agreement among those who discuss the 99 Islamic names for Allah that the 100th name of Allah is “hidden” or mysterious. Sufis and others may meditate on the “mystery” of the 100th name as a symbol of God’s transcendence, or as a symbol of the true nature of God, which the other 99 names only attempt to describe.

This is relevant to the rosary in a sort of indirect way: the ideal way to recite the Islamic tasbih, which is often called the Islamic "rosary," is to recite the 99 names of Allah, one per bead.

Until now, I have known four different stories about the 100th name.

I should make it clear that, as far as I know, all of these are folk tales or speculations, rather than established theology. I am not Muslim, and I wouldn't presume to say whether any of them have any basis in Islamic theology or not. Some are clearly intended to be humorous.

Here are the four stories, which I'm repeating from one of my earlier posts:

• The 100th name of Allah is known only to angels, since it's too holy to be entrusted to human beings.

• The 100th name will be revealed by the Mahdi (the prophesied redeemer of Islam) at the end of time.

• Allah will reveal the 100th name in the heart of each true believer who devoutly prays the other 99 names.

• The 100th name is known only to camels.(!)

Someone recently sent me a fifth story.

The story goes that whoever invokes Allah by his mysterious 100th name, all his prayers shall be granted.

Now at the present time, the only one who knows this 100th name is Satan, and Satan intends to use this on the Day of Judgement to have all his sins forgiven.

But what Satan doesn't know is that on Judgement Day, Allah will make him forget the 100th name...

(Personally, I still like the one about camels the best. It would explain such a lot... ;)