I understand that Islam has a high regard for the revelation that came before, particularly the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel, although unfortunately these are all regarded as having become corrupted to some extent.

An important part of the Torah concerns God revealing his name to Moses:

RSVCE Exodus 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” (יהוה) And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

That name, "I am who I am" is considered to be very important in Judaism and Christianity. Much has been read into it. It is often taken as a statement of God's ineffability (God cannot be understood, named or categorised) and his self-sufficiency (He doesn't depend on anything else for his existence).

Would this also be an accepted name of God in Islam? I know that there are the "99 names of God" and "Allah" seems to be the preferred or most important name. Is it contrary to the doctrine of Islam to accept "Yahweh" as a name of God as well?

  • 1
    Also for the purpose of this question im assuming we all worahip the same god. I'm not asking if we do Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 10:00
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones This should be closed as a duplicate. Not deleted. Good duplicates should not be deleted, but they should be close as duplicates so they are cross-linked and point at one canonical open version where all the answers end up and can be scored against each other through the normal voting process.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 7:00
  • @Caleb: At the time, I was worried the OP would delete it (I think this version of the question is better, though). Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


Exodus 3:14-15 - Hebrew Transliteration for example here

vayomer elohim el-mosheh, ehyeh asher ehyeh; vayomer, koh tomar livnei yisra'el, ehyeh, shelachani aleichem vayomer od elohim el-mosheh, koh-tomar el-benei yisra'el, y'hwäh elohei avoteichem elohei avraham elohei yitzchak velohei ya'akov, shelachani aleichem; zeh-shemi le'olam, vezeh zichri ledor dor

And God said unto Moses: 'I AM THAT I AM'; and He said: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you.'

And God said moreover unto Moses: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: The LORD (YHWH), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.

The combination YHWH (يحوح or يهوه) does not form a valid word or phrase in Arabic (AFAIK) and does not appear in the Quran and Hadith. Similarly the pronunciation Yahweh [apparently disputed?] is again not found in the Quran and Hadith and there are no reports of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) using it.

So, in this exact form, its unprecedented to use the name ... it might be one of the divinely revealed names of Allah, or it might be an innovation, or the truth might be somewhere in the middle. Caution would dictate that a Muslim avoid it, as far as I know the Jews themselves have strict rules about uttering it because of its sanctity and instead substitute it with Adoni and Elohim when reciting the Torah.

A point to note here is that words and names in the Hebrew Torah and the Arabic Quran are similar but not always exact replicas in spelling, nor pronounciation. For example Moses is Mosheh (M Sh H) in Hebrew and Musa (M W S A) in Arabic, similarly orphan is Yathowm (Y T W M) in Hebrew and Yateem (Y T Y M) in Arabic and so on.

The etymology of YHWH seems to point to a meaning of God's being and existance, creating life and being eternal.

From A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver and Briggs p 217-218:

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This makes it a cognate to the Arabic Ya-Haeeyu ( يَا حَىُّ ), Yuhyee ( يُحيي ) and possibly Hu ( هُوَ ), which are names and attributes of Allah attested to in the Quran and Hadith.

Further there Hadith that Haye حَىُّ is part of the Isme Azam (Greatest Name of Allah), and there are narrations within Islamic tradition that it is the equivalent of ehyeh asher ehyeh:

Tafsir Al Qurtubi on 2:255 narrates:

الحي» اسم من أسمائه الحسنى يسمى به، ويقال: إنه اسم الله تعالى الأعظم. ويقال: إن عيسى ابن مريم عليه السلام كان إذا أراد أن يحيي الموتى يدعو بهذا الدعاء: يا حي يا قيوم. ويقال: إن آصف بن برخيا لما أراد أن يأتي بعرش بلقيس إلى سليمان دعا بقوله يا حي يا قيوم. ويقال: إن بني إسرائيل سألوا موسى عن اسم الله الأعظم فقال لهم: أيا هيا شرا هيا، يعني يا حي يا قيوم.

Al Hayee is a name of Allah from His beautiful names with which He is called. And it is said that it is the Great name of Allah.

And it is said that when Jesus, son of Mary had to resurrect a dead person he would supplicate with the name Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu.

It is also said that Asif bin Barkhiya brought Solomon the throne of the Queen of Sheba by supplicating using Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu.

And it is said that when the Children of Israel asked Moses about Allah's Great name, it was said "ehyeh asher ehyeh" i.e Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu.

Similarly, when commenting on 27:40, he narrates:

وقالت عائشة رضي الله عنها قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: " إن اسم الله الأعظم الذي دعا به آصف بن برخيا يا حيّ يا قيوُّم قيل: وهو بلسانهم، أهيا شراهيا؛

Aisha said: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: The Great Name with which Asif bin Barkiyar made a supplication was "Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu".

And it was said that it is in their tongue: ehyeh asher ehyeh.

Some examples of the use of Yuhyee in the Quran:

Quran 44:8

لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

La ilaha illa huwa yuhyee wayumeetu rabbukum warabbu abaikumu alawwaleena

There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death. [He is] your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers.


Quran 2:258

قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ

qala ibraheemu rabbiya allathee yuhyee wayumeetu

When Abraham said, "My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,"

Similarly Al-Hayeeyu

Quran 2:255

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ

Allahu la ilaha illa huwa alhayyu alqayyoomu

Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence.

Some hadith about Ya Haeeyu being the Great Name:

Sunan Nisai and Abu Daud

يَا حَىُّ يَا قَيُّومُ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لأَصْحَابِهِ ‏"‏ تَدْرُونَ بِمَا دَعَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَقَدْ دَعَا اللَّهَ بِاسْمِهِ الْعَظِيمِ الَّذِي إِذَا دُعِيَ بِهِ أَجَابَ وَإِذَا سُئِلَ بِهِ أَعْطَى ‏‏

... Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu ...

... O Ever-living, O-Eternal ... The Prophet (ﷺ) said: 'Do you know what he has supplicated with?' They said: "Allah (SWT) and His Messenger know best." He said: 'By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, he called upon Allah by His greatest Name, which, if He is called by it, He responds, and if He is asked by it, He gives.'"


Jami Tirmidhi

النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا كَرَبَهُ أَمْرٌ قَالَ ‏"‏ يَا حَىُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ ‏"‏ ‏

... Iza Karabahu Amrun Qala Ya Haeeyu Ya Qayoomu bi Rahmatika Astagheeth

Whenever a matter would distress him, the Prophet (ﷺ) would say: ‘O Living, O Self-Sustaining Sustainer! In Your Mercy do I seek relief

  • In Aramaic: Elohim - my God. In Arabic: Allahim - also means my God Commented May 28, 2017 at 1:56
  • In Arabic: Ilaahee means my god. But the real God in Arabic is called Allah and there is no such thing as Allahim in Arabic, the most closest thing that is Allahumm but that means O God, and you CAN’T say my God in Arabic, it would be Allahee and that is an incorrect phrase in Arabic, but you can say Rabbee meaning my Lord.
    – maounkhan
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 1:26
  • the word that means God in arabic is "ilah" not "Allah." "Allah," as far as I understand, is God's name and it does not mean generally "god." For example, God said {And whoever calls upon another god with Allah—he has no proof thereof—his reckoning rests with his Lord; indeed, the deniers never succeed} replacing the arabic words with the relevant english ones {And whoever calls upon another ilah with Allah—he has no proof thereof—his reckoning rests with his rab; indeed, the deniers never succeed} quran.com/23/… Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 12:28
  • the actual name mentioned in these Islamic texts is not "YA HAYYU" it is "Hayyu". "Ya" is not part of the name, right? or have I misunderstood
    – Hisham
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:10

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