Al-Kāfi - Volume 1 > Chapter On the Coming into the Existence of the Names of Allah
Hadith #2

2ـ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ إِدْرِيسَ عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الله عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الله وَمُوسَى بْنِ عُمَرَ وَالْحَسَنِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ عَنِ ابْنِ سِنَانٍ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا الْحَسَنِ الرِّضَا (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) هَلْ كَانَ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَارِفاً بِنَفْسِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْلُقَ الْخَلْقَ قَالَ نَعَمْ قُلْتُ يَرَاهَا وَيَسْمَعُهَا قَالَ مَا كَانَ مُحْتَاجاً إِلَى ذَلِكَ لانَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَسْأَلُهَا وَلا يَطْلُبُ مِنْهَا هُوَ نَفْسُهُ وَنَفْسُهُ هُوَ قُدْرَتُهُ نَافِذَةٌ فَلَيْسَ يَحْتَاجُ أَنْ يُسَمِّيَ نَفْسَهُ وَلَكِنَّهُ اخْتَارَ لِنَفْسِهِ أَسْمَاءً لِغَيْرِهِ يَدْعُوهُ بِهَا لانَّهُ إِذَا لَمْ يُدْعَ بِاسْمِهِ لَمْ يُعْرَفْ فَأَوَّلُ مَا اخْتَارَ لِنَفْسِهِ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ لانَّهُ أَعْلَى الاشْيَاءِ كُلِّهَا فَمَعْنَاهُ الله وَاسْمُهُ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ هُوَ أَوَّلُ أَسْمَائِهِ عَلا عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ.

2. Ahmad ibn Idris has narrated from al-Husayn ibn ‘Abdallah from Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah and Musa ibn ‘Umar and al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn ‘Uthman from ibn Sinan who has said the following. “I asked abu al-Hassan al-Rida (a.s.), ‘Did Allah, the Majestic, the Glorious, know Himself before He created the creation?’” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “Yes, He knew Himself.” I further asked, “Did He see and hear His Own Self?” The Imam replied, “Allah did not need such things because He did not ask or demand it. He is His Own self and His Own self is He. His power is dominant and He does not need to name His Own self. He chose His Own name for the sake of others so they can call Him. Until one is not called by means of his names he is not recognized. The fist name He chose for His Own self was al-‘Ali al-‘Azim (the Most High, the Great) because He is above all things. It then means that Allah and His name al-‘Ali al-‘Azim is His. The Most High, He is above all things.