Q. I want to start reciting the beautiful names of Allah every day, starting this Ramadan. What is the reward that will result from that? What are the best times to do this act of worship?
Praise be to Allah.
The Sunnah tells us that the reward for memorising the names of Allah, may He be exalted, is admission to Paradise. Al-Bukhaari (2736) and Muslim (2677) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has ninety-nine names.
Whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise.”
The word translated as memorised in this hadeeth may include the following:
1. Memorising them
2. Understanding their meanings
3. Acting upon what they imply. So if a person knows that He is One, he will not associate anything else with Him; if he knows that He is the Provider, he will not seek provision from anyone else; if he knows that He is the Most Merciful, he will do acts of obedience that are a means of attaining this mercy… And so on
4. Calling upon Him by these names, as Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them” [al-A‘raaf 7:180].
So one may say for example, “O Most Gracious, have mercy on me; O Oft-Forgiving, forgive me; O Accepter of repentance, accept my repentance” and so on.
Thus you will realise that it is not prescribed to merely recite these names without understanding them, acting upon them and calling upon Allah by them.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen said: What is meant by memorising them is not merely writing them on a piece of paper, then repeating them until you have memorised them…
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (1/74)
Undoubtedly focusing in Ramadan on reading Qur’an is better than focusing on any other kind of dhikr. We advise you to read a great deal of Qur’an and ponder its meanings, whilst not neglecting du‘aa’, calling upon Allah, may He be exalted, by His names.
And Allah knows best.