Zakir Naik says:

“It is mentioned in Rig Ved (One of the religious books of hindus) Sages call One God by many names that means there are various names given to this One God. And Rig Ved alone gives no less than 33 different attributes of Almighty God most of which are mentioned in Rig Ved, Book no. 2, Hymn no. 1. And One of the beautiful attribute which is mentioned in Rig Ved of Almighty God is Brahma….. Brahma means ‘The Creator’ . If you translate into Arabic it means Khaliq WE MUSLIMS HAVE GOT NO OBJECTION IF ANYONE CALLS ALMIGHTY GOD ALLAH SUB’HANAHUWA TA’ALA AS “KHALIQ” OR “CREATOR” OR BRAHMA. But if someone says “Brahma”, is Almighty God, who has got four heads, on each head is a crown and  he has got four arms we muslims take a strong objection to it…………… Another beautiful attribute which is given in Rig Ved, Book no. 2, Hymn no. 1 Verse no. 3, is Vishnu. Vishnu means “The Sustainer”. If you translate into Arabic it means ‘Rab’. WE MUSLIMS HAVE GOT NO OBJECTION IF ANYONE  CALLS ALMIGHTY GOD AS RAB OR CHERISHER SUSTAINER OR VISHNU. But if someone calls Vishnu, is Almighty God, who has four hands and one of his hands holds a chakra(disc)…. and one of his left hands holds the..(unclear)… and he is riding on a bird, by reclining on a couch of snake we muslims take a strong objection to it……………

Audio  :Zakir-CallingAllahBrahmaOrVishnu.rm

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Shaikh Falah Isma’eel was asked about this individual’s statement on 4th September 2004 after his dars on Aqeeda Wasitiyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) The following was his response.

The Shaikh said: Even if they are the names of Allah(in that particular language), the origin of it(of these names) indicate to the names of Allah in that particular language; the origin is that if those two names are used upon (hindu) gods it is NOT PERMISSIBLE TO USE THOSE TWO NAMES.

The Shaikh mentioned, the Arabs in Jahiliyyah before the coming of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) they used to call their gods with names that were taken from the Names of Allah like Al-Laat from al-Ilaah , Al-Uzza from al-Azeez and al-Manat from al-Mannan.  All of this is from Ilhad. Even though these names have been derived from the Names of Allah it is impermissible to call Allah by them since they are used upon the gods , idols of mushrikeen…

And some of the scholars mentioned about the statement of  Allah..”….. and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names”. From Ilhaad is (also) to name the gods with the Names that are taken from Allah (i.e. the Names of Allah).

[Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) said: Al-`Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said about Allah's statement,"and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names" 'To belie Allah's Names includes saying Al-Lat (an idol) derived from Allah's Name. Ibn Jurayj narrated from Mujahid that he commented , 'They derived Al-Lat (an idol's name) from Allah, and al-Uzza (another idol) from Al-Aziz'. Qatadah stated that Ilhad refers to associating others with Allah in His Names (such as calling an idol al Uzza). The word Ilhaad means deviation, wickedness, injustice and straying....]

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The Fatwa Of Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) On Calling Allah Sub’hanahu Wa Ta’ala By A Name That He Did Not Name Himself

Q.37 What constitutes Ilhad regarding the Names of Allah, the Most High and what are its types ?

Response. Ilhad linguistically means speaking, to be inclined or to deviate, such as in the Words of Allah, the Most High: Sooratun Nahl (16:103).

And from this is the word Lahd[2], which is so called, because it is inclined to one side of it. Ilhad cannot be understood without understanding Istiqamah[3], because, as it is said: By their antonyms things are explained. Istiqamah in the matter of Allah, the Most High’s Names and Attributes is to accept these Names and Attributes according to their true meaning, in a manner befitting Allah, the Almighty, the All Powerful, without corrupting the meanings, or negating them, or explaining the how of them, or comparing them with those of the created beings, in accordance with the rule followed by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah in this matter.

So, if we know that Istiqamah is in this matter, then the opposite of Istiqamah is Ilhad. The scholars have mentioned a number of types of Ilhad regarding the Names and Attributes of Allah, all of which may be covered by saying: It is to deviate away from what it is obligatory to believe regarding them, and that falls into a number of categories, such as:

1. Denying any of the Names or the Attributes proved by them, such as the one who denies that the Name: Ar-Rahman (the Most Beneficient) is one of the Names of Allah, the Most High as the people of the Jahiliyyah[4] used to do, or to confirm the Names but to deny the attributes implied by them, as some of the innovators do, saying that Allah, the Most High, is Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful) without having the Attribute of Mercy and As-Sami’ (the All-Hearing) without having the Attribute of Hearing.

2. For Allah, the Most Glorified, the Most High to be called by a Name that He has not called Himself.

Here it is Ilhad because the Names of Allah, the Most Glorified are restricted. So, it is not permissible for anyone to call Allah, the Most High by a Name He has not called Himself. To do so is to say something about Allah without knowledge, and to transgress the Rights of Allah, the Almighty, the All-Powerful. This was done by the philosophers who called the Deity Al-’Illah Al-Fa’ilah (the Active Cause) and as done by the Christians, who called Allah, by the name ‘the Father’ and the like.

3. To believe that these Names indicate attributes of created beings, and so they declare that they indicate comparison (of Allah with His creation).

This is Ilhad because one who believes that the Names of Allah, the Most Glorified imply a comparison of Allah with His creation, then he has disassociated them from the Attributes which they prove, and deviated thereby from the straight way, and declared the Speech of Allah and the speech of His Messenger (Sallalahualaihiwasalam) to be proof of disbelief. Because comparing Allah with His creation is disbelief, since it belies the Words of Allah, the Most High: Sooratus Shura (42:11), And his Words: Sooratul Maryam (19:65)

Nu’aym bin Hammad Al Khuza’i, Al Bukhari’s Shaikh, may Allah have mercy on them both, said: Whoever compared Allah with His creation, has committed disbelief. And whoever rejected any Attribute Allah described Himself with has committed an act of disbelief, and there is no comparison in anything by which Allah has described Himself.

4. To derive names for idols from the Names of Allah, the Most High. Such as the derivation Al-Lat from Al-Ilah (the Deity), Al-Uzza from Al’Azeez (the Almighty) and Manat from Al-Mannan (the Benefactor).

This is Ilhad because the Names of Allah, the Most High are Unique to Him, so it is not permissible to transfer the meanings which are proven by these Names to any created beings in order to allot him the worship which none has the right for except Allah, the Almighty, the All Powerful.

These are the forms of Ilhad regarding the Names of Allah, the Most High.

[2] Lahd: A niche in the grave in which the deceased is placed, facing towards the Qiblah.
[3] Istiqamah – To be straight
[4]Jahiliyyah – The days of ignorance before the Revelation came to the Prophet sallalahualaihiwasalam

[Source:- Fatawa Arkan-ul-Islam ; Pg 136 - 138, Islamic Verdicts on the Pillars of Islam,By the Honorable Shaikh Muhammad bin Salih Al-'Uthaimeen,Collected and Arranged by Fahd bin Nasir bin Ibrahim As Sulaiman, Darussalam ]


Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) said:

CHAPTER: The Names of Allah Are Tawqeefiyyah There Is No Place For Intellectual Free-Thinking Regarding Them:

Allah’s Names are tawqeefiyyah, meaning a kind of knowledge that is restricted to textual evidence; there is no place for intellectual free-thinking regarding them. Based upon this, we must suffice ourselves with what is found in the Book and the Sunnah, without adding or taking anything away. This is because the intellect will not be able to grasp the understanding of Allah’s Names that He rightfully deserves, so then we must suffice ourselves with textual evidences only.

This is due to Allah’s statement,
“And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.)that of which you have no knowledge (e.g. one’s saying: “I have seen,” while in fact he has not seen, or “I have heard,” while he has not heard). Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allâh). (Surah Al-Isra Surah 17 Ayah 36).

And He also has said,
Say (O Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are AlFawâhish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secetly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allâh for which He has given no authority,and saying things about Allâh of which you have no knowledge.” (Surah Al-A’raf , Surah 7 Ayah 33).

Furthermore, to ascribe a name to Allah the Exalted that He did not ascribe to His own Self, or to deny something He has named Himself, would be a serious crime against Him. So one must behave in the appropriate manner in this affair and stick to what is found in established textual evidences only.

[Al Qawaa'idul-Muthlaa fee Sifaatillahi wa Asmaa'ihil-Husnaa , Translated into English language by Moosa Richardson; Published by TROID publications Page 30].

CHAPTER: The Kinds Of Deviation From the Correct Belief

[Allah commands us to abandon those who are known for ilhaad],

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allâh, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Surah Al-A’raf , Surah 7 Ayah 180)

Ilhaad with regards to the Names of Allah the Exalted means to stray from the obligatory manner of believing in them, and ilhaad takes many forms:

Point THREE: To ascribe a name to Allah that He did not name Himself with. An example of this is how the Christians call Allah the father, or how the philosophers call Him the root cause of everything (al illatul-Faa’ilah). So since the knowledge of Allah’s Names is tawqeefiyyah, then to ascribe a name to Allah that He did not name Himself with is straying from the obligatory manner of believing in them. Furthermore, these names that have been ascribed to Allah are sheer falsehood that Allah is far removed from….”

Point FOUR: To derive names of idols from the linguistic base of His Names An example of this is what the polytheists did when they derived the name  al-’Uzzaa from al’Azeez, and al-Laat from al-Ilaah, according to one opinion, and they named their idols with these names……. Some kinds of ilhaad may be crimes of shirk or kufr (while others are less than that), depending upon the relative evidences and what they imply.

[Al Qawaa'idul-Muthlaa fee Sifaatillahi wa Asmaa'ihil-Husnaa , Translated into English language by Moosa Richardson; Published by TROID publications Page 37,38].

The Shaikh further states:
The Proofs That Establish The Names And Attributes Are Only From The Book And The Sunnah:

The evidences used to establish Allah’s Names and Attributes are found in the Book and the Sunnah, and no Names or Attributes may be established using other than these proofs. So based on this:

  1. Whatever Names and Attributes that have been established by the Book and the Sunnah,it is obligatory to affirm them.
  2. Whatever has been negated by the Book and the Sunnah, then it is obligatory for us to negate that, while we affirm its opposite as a perfect Attribute.
  3.  Whatever has not been affirmed nor negated in the Book and the Sunnah, then it is obligatory for us to remain silent about its wording, as it must not be rejected outright simply because of the lack of evidence regarding its affirmation or negation……

[Al Qawaa'idul-Muthlaa fee Sifaatillahi wa Asmaa'ihil-Husnaa , Translated into English language by Moosa Richardson; Published by TROID publications Page 66].

Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) states in his another excellent work ‘The Explanation of Sufficiency In Creed by Ibn Qudamah‘…

The Names of Allah are based upon Revelation and as such, their affirmation is dependent upon what is reported in the revealed texts concerning them. Therefore, nothing can be added to them nor subtracted. This is because the intellect is not able to ascertain by itself which names Allah is most deserving of. So it is obligatory to depend upon the revealed texts for determining that. Also, naming Allah with that which He did not name Himself or rejecting what He did name Himself with, is a crime against Him and a perpetration of His right. Thus, abiding by the proper etiquettes with regard to this is obligatory.

[Explanation of Sufficiency In Creed, page 19, by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Salih al-Uthaimeen (rahimahullah)].

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