But for those religions that trace their prophets back to Prophet Abraham, and his two sons Ishmael and Isaac, the many names of God simply describe different aspects or attributes of the one God’s multifaceted personality.
God’s names are appellations: titles and descriptions. Thus to say that God is a King or Judge describes one of many ways God acts. To say that God is the Compassionate One is to describe one of many character or personality traits of the one God.
While each of the many ‘names’ for the one God is only one of the many appellations of the one universal creator of space and time; both Islam and Judaism also have one special Divine name that is always in the believer’s heart and soul.
Because the Qur’an is filled with beautiful Arabic poetry, it is not surprising that the Qur’an is also filled with so many names of God.
Because the Jewish tradition reaches back more than thirty five centuries; it is not surprising that Jews have focused on many additional names for the one and only God over those many centuries.
Yet, because all the many names of God call upon the same One God, it is also not surprising that many of the 99 beautiful names of God in Muslim tradition also appear in Jewish tradition, which sometimes refers to the 70 names of God (found in Midrash Shir HaShirim and Midrash Otiot Rabbi Akiba).
Since Arabic and Hebrew are brother languages; in some cases the names even sound alike:
ArabicHebrewEnglish Al-Raḥman Ha Rakhaman the Compassionate One Al-Raḥim El Rakhum the Merciful One Al-Quddus Ha Kadosh the Holy One Al-Bari Ha Boray the Creator Al-¢Aliyy El Elyon the Most High Al-Salam Oseh HaShalom the Peacemaker Malik Al Mulk Melek Malkay Melakim the King/Ruler over all the kingdom/ kings Al-Muhyi Ha Michayah the Giver of Life Al-Mumit Ha Maymeet the Taker of Life
Most of the similarities between Jewish and Muslim appellations of God are not due to linguistics alone. They reflect similar philosophical views of God’s attributes.
He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children…(Tirmidhi)
Are you pushing your child to grow up too fast, into what I like to refer to as a “mini-adult”?
In this article, we will focus on a newly emerging phenomenon: the raising of mini-adults.
The Pressure Cooker
There is a lot of pressure in Western society for kids to grow up quickly, and learn more, faster. In addition to educational and societal pressures, there is also an ever-increasing pressure on kids to take on more responsibilities and adult-like behaviors earlier in their lives than ever before.
Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? I do, my days consisted of uninterrupted playtime, summers of swimming and playing games with my friends in my backyard…simple and unstructured fun.
I did not feel hurried on a daily basis, nor did I take on more than the responsibilities of any normal kid.
What I really appreciate about my mom, now that I’m a mom myself, is that she allowed me to just be a kid.
Nowadays, we see children – not teens – acting like little adults. Wearing make-up, revealing clothing…or on the opposite end of the spectrum we see some parents in our own Muslim communities requiring their children to wearjilbâbsandhijabs, everywhere, daily.
While, it is a good practice to get your child into the groove of the Islamic lifestyle and prepare young girls for adulthood and, most definitely, to practice modesty…it is going way too far to make wearingabâyas,khimârs,jilbâbsand hijabs a mandatory dress code for children before they reach the age of puberty.
Doing so is a hindrance on their ability to be kids. Children should be able to be carefree and not be required to “cover”. Some may say, “I am preparing my daughter for her life.” And, to that, I say: “Your child will learn by your own example….and that of her sister, aunt, grandmother and cousins (if they cover).”
It is almost like we want to push our children into more than what they are responsible for, too early for their own good.
I once noticed a sister exiting a masjid one afternoon harshly reprimand her four-year-old daughter for allowing her hijab to come loose and her hair to show.
I thought, “show” to whom exactly? She was only four.
On another occasion, I witnessed a father scold his five-year-old son for eating something off of the table beforeifṭâr.
Seeing these episodes always made me wonder what affect they would have on those children. Rather than Ramadan being a joyous occasion, would he remember his childhood and be resentful? Or, in the case of the little girl, would she grow up and be bitter about covering so early in her life and attempt to re-live the freedom lost in her childhood as an adult woman and shed her scarf? May Allah forbid!
There are already more than enough pressures on children today that we do not have to add to them by forcing them to take on more.
Islam has prescribed the time of adolescence as a coming of age for Islamic attire and fasting, and – after that time – this will be the time for obligations to be observed.
As adults, we should be able to look back at, and fondly reminisce about, our childhood, which can and should include dressing up in special clothes to go to the masjid – or trying to fast the entire day as a young child…but, not forcibly so.