Alhamdulillah

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Al-ḥamdu lillāh (Arabic: الحمد لله‎) is an Arabic phrase meaning "Thanks and Praise to God". It is commonly used by Arabic speakers of all religions, including Christianity and Judaism, and frequently by Muslims due to the centrality of this specific phrase within the texts of the Qur'an and the words of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is similar to the Hebrew word Hallelujah הַלְלוּיָהּ ('God be praised').

The meaning and in-depth explanation of 'Alhamdulillah' have been the subject of much exegesis.

The phrase has three basic parts:

  • Al - The definite article, "the."
  • Ḥamdu - Meaning the "feeling of gratitude", as opposed to Shukr, "words of gratitude."
  • Li-l-lāh - preposition + noun Allah. Li- is a preposition meaning "for," "belonging to," etc.

Note: (1) The word "Allah" is the fusion of the article al (the) and the word ilah (a god, deity). Very much like in English, "The" article is used here to single out the noun as being the only one of its kind, "The god" (the one and only) or "God" with a capital G (the concept of capital letters does not exist in Arabic). Therefore, "Allah" is the Arabic word for "God". (2) "ilāh" is the Arabic cognate of the ancient Semitic name for God, El

It also means that anything in existence to which is ascribed praise, thanks, glorification, or gratitude, is only able to achieve it due to God's infinite mercy and grace.

Alhamdulillah: in theory, it is to be said with a profound sense of love, adoration, and awe of the power, glory, and mercy of God. In practice, however, its use is so widespread in Arabic-speaking countries that it might better be understood as meaning "thankfully," "thank goodness," or "thank God" as used in American English. Which is to say that not all Arabic speakers who use the phrase are consciously praising God when they say it.

It not only praises God in general for the above-mentioned qualities, but also seeks to praise Him specifically for those attributes of God's names in Islam, which God did not necessarily have as omnipotent (such as all-seeing, all-hearing), but rather chose to have out of His mercy (the Loving (Al-Wadud), the Beneficent (Ar-Rahman)) and showering Grace upon His servants.

Some of the 99 Names of God in Islam, referred to by this idea are:

  • Al-Wadud (the Loving)
  • Ar-Rahman (The Beneficent)
  • Ar-Raheem (The Merciful)
  • Al-Kareem (The Generous)
  • Al Ghafur (The Forgiving)
  • As-Salaam (The Peace)

The phrase is first found in the second verse of the first sura of the Qur'an (Al-Fatiha). So frequently do Muslims and Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians invoke this phrase that the quadriliteral verb Hamdala حمدل, "to say al-Hamdu li-'llah" was coined, and the derived noun Hamdalah حمدلة is used as a name for this phrase.

On any occasion and in any situation when Muslims desire to praise God, they may say: Alhamdulillah (الحمد لله).

The triconsonantal root Ḥ-M-D (ح م د), meaning "praise," can also be found in the names Muhammad, Mahmud, Hamid and Ahmad.

Translation[edit]

Alhamdulillah
Arabic الحمد لله
Romanization Al-Ḥamdulillāh, Alḥamdulillāh
Literal meaning Praise to God

English translations of "Alhamdulillah" include:

Historical (Non Quranic) mentions of this phrase[edit]

Jabir ibn Abd-Allah reported in a hadith that Muhammad, said: "The best remembrance of Allah is to repeat La ilaha ilallah and the best prayer (du'a) is Alhamdulillah (all praise belongs to Allah)." (Narrated by Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Hakim who declared its chain 'sound')

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said: "Any matter of importance which is not begun with Alhumdulillah remains defective." From Abu Dawood

Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet said: "Allah is Pleased with His slave who says, 'Alhumdulillah' when he takes a morsel of food and drinks a draught of water."

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