99 Names of Allah: 26-29

Sami’ and Basir

Both Names relating to sensory experience, I will begin today’s post treating them together in brief.

Meaning “divine hearing,” Sami’ is “hearing in the sense of hearing everything without limits, both in detail and as a totality…so that you might hear the sounds of God’s signs and hear all sounds as sacred” (Meyer et al. Physicians of the Heart 48). Much like Jesus says “for those with ears may hear” in the Gospels, Sami’ is the Divine Name by that opens one’s “true ears” (48) and “we may hear the sound beyond all sounds, the sound that is not an effect of a secondary cause” (48). In other words, the Divine.


Often paired with Sami’, Basir, on the other hand,  is “seeing in its totality” (48) and much like Sami’, this seeing is the seeing of “everything all at once as well as every single individual thing in detail” (48). But this seeing is not limited to the visual as Basir helps one see what is “invisible, impossible, manifest, and unmanifest” and whereas Sami’ is considered the ears of the heart, Basir “is the eye of the heart…It is a divine seeing that is complete in understanding and realization” (48).  With Sami’ one hears the the sounds of God’s signs; with Basir “human beings may perceive the greatest sign of the divine presence” and this kind of seeing “overcomes your sense of separation, loneliness, and alienation and you are allowed to live in the vision of God” (49).


Hakam, “a wisdom that is utterly pervasive and very precise” (49), is derived from the root H-K-M, a root that generates a number of terms, each amplifying an understanding of the this, the 28th Divine Name, which is “described by such words as sagacious, judicious, clear-headed, intelligent, subtle and discreet” (49).

For example, the nominative form of the root, al-Hikmah, “means both wisely reflecting on the secrets of divine essence…and living actively in harmony with that reflection” (348).

H-K-M also generates the words hakama, hukm, hikmah, ‘ahkama, and ‘uhkima.

Meaning “to attach a bridle made of untanned leather or hep straws around the head of a horse,” hakama embodies the notion of reining in so that, keeping in line with the image of the horse, one does “not run wild–unbridled–and injure himself” (348). In Sufi thought this notion of controlling the horse is applied to the lower self, the self driven by ego desires.

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Similarly, hukm “means prevention or restraint” while hikmah “is that what prevents or retrains you from acting in an ignorant manner” (348). In ‘ahkama, meaning “to manufacture a sword in a firm, stable, strong, well constituted, established, and skillful way” (348), we find a similar image in that muck like what is necessary to make a strong sword, ‘uhkima means “‘it was secured from corruption and made free from defects by acting in a well constituted, firm, and determined manner'” (349).

Furthermore, in modern Arabic, hakim means “skilled physician…one skilled in the healing arts who is using their well grounded education and abilities to perform their profession” (349). The dictionary also defines hakim as “wise old man or woman…mindful, clearheaded, thoughtful, watchful, intelligent, smart, and bright” (349).

All of the above meanings underscore the Hakam as discerning wisdom, the type of wisdom one becomes “able to discern between what is real and what is transient…so that a seeker of wisdom can focus on the truth amidst the most confusing of conditions” (349).


The 29th Divine Name, that which brings integration, “is a fluid, merciful quality that mediates and brings all that exists into true balance and harmony” (49). And not unlike the Chinese Yin-Yang is to the Tao, ‘Adl “is the harmonizing of the total system so that everything is moving toward the one” (49). The “harmonious balance of all things,” ‘Adl is understood in relation to the image of scales (117) and the Qur’an itself says “the whole universe is set up in accordance with the manifestation of al-‘Adl, or else it would fall apart immediately” (117).

But ‘Adl should not be understood simply as “justice” as it often is, “because of the way the word justice is used with a connotation of revenge in today’s world” (118). It is easy to understand why one might scoff at the idea of the world being balanced, especially in our modern world. But such stems from ego perspective and the limited knowledge/understanding such entails. The balance that is ‘Adl, rather, goes all the way down to the “stuff” of the universe itself as it “comes between every particle of creation” (118). In other words, without ‘Adl, there would be no universe.

Such leads me to what I have read in regards to cosmology and physics, namely that (if I am remembering correctly), the ratio between matter and anti-matter in the universe is so close, that if it the balance between the two was off even by the smallest of the smallest degree, there would be no life at all.

by Hamid Ikbal Khan
by Hamid Ikbal Khan

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