Book Reviews

In the Company of God

In the Company of God

Title: In the Company of God, Closeness to Allah through the Beauty of His Names and Attributes, 2nd edition
Author: Salman al-Oadah
Pages: 275 pages

Availability: Limited availability from Muslim bookstores

What I like about the book:

  • Ranked 16th among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by Georgetown University, Sheikh Salman al-Oadah is noted for his moderation, grasp of modernity, and eloquence. He is a first rate scholar whose doctoral thesis was supervised by the well known Mauritanian scholar, Sh. Abdullah bin Bayyah.
  • There are many books on the divine Names that either lack in scholarly rigor or suffer from poor translation. Even though more detailed works exist in Arabic, the present English translation is flowing and lucid, and does not read like one.
  • Gladly, the author revises his works. The second edition combined with a superb translation makes the English title one of the best that I know of on the subject.
  • The book mentions more than 99 divine Names. Under each Name, the author lists the Quranic verse or prophetic hadith where it appears. It becomes important for Names such as as-Sittir (the Coverer), as the more common Name as-Sattar does not appear in any text.
  • Muslim scholars do not agree on the ascription of some divine Names like an-Nur and al-Hafi. It seems that the author has placed most of such Names towards the end of the book.

What can be improved?

  • The disputed Names, especially towards the end of the book, could be identified as such.
  • I would have liked to see the translator(s) properly identified and credited.
  • The Names can be numbered.
  • A general index as well as a specific index of verses and hadith would be useful.
  • The book can be made more easily available in the market.