|Part of a series on|
|God in Islam|
|Islam portal · Category|
|Part of a series on|
The Takbīr (تَكْبِير, pronounced [tækˈbiːr]), also transliterated Tekbir or Takbeer, is the Arabic phrase Allāhu akbar (الله أكبر), usually translated as "God is [the] greatest". It is a common Islamic Arabic expression, used in various contexts by Muslims; in formal prayer, in the call for prayer (adhān), as an informal expression of faith, in times of distress, or to express resolute determination or defiance.
The form Allāhu is the nominative of Allah, meaning "God". In the context of Islam, it is the proper name of God. The form akbar is the elative of the adjective kabīr, meaning "great", from the Semitic root k-b-r. As used in the Takbīr it is usually translated as "greatest", but some authors prefer "greater". The phrase is often transliterated less accurately as Allah akbar. The term Takbīr itself is the stem II verbal noun (tafʿīlun) of the triliteral root k-b-r, meaning "great", from which akbar "greater" is derived.
- 1 Usage
- 2 In warfare and politics
- 3 On flags
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
This phrase is recited by Muslims in many different situations. For example, when they are very happy, to express approval, to prevent a Muslim from becoming prideful by reminding them that Allah is their source of success, or as a battle cry, during times of extreme stress. The phrase is not found in the Quran, which does not refer to God as akbar, but uses the name Al-Kabir (The Great) or Kabir (Great), commonly translated as "Most Great" (13:9, 31:30, 22:62, 34:23, 40:12, 4:34).
The phrase is said during each stage of both obligatory prayers (performed five times a day), and supererogatory prayers (performed at will). The Muslim call to prayer (adhan) by the muezzin and to commence prayer (iqama) also contains the phrase.
In times of distress
The phrase is sometimes used during distress.
Just before a Garuda Airbus A300B-4 crashed into the jungle near Medan, Indonesia, the pilot screamed "Aaaaaaah! Allāhu akbar" into his radio. According to a radio communication transcript, the pilot's conversation with the air controller had been in English, but his last words were this Arabic phrase as the plane crashed on September 26, 1997, killing all 234 people aboard in Indonesia's deadliest crash. It was suspected that the crash may have been due to either disorientation or engine failure caused by local dense smog resulting from forest fires.
In times of joy and gratitude
When Reshma Begum was discovered alive 17 days after the 2013 Savar building collapse in Bangladesh which killed 1129 people, crowds jubilantly cried "Allahu akbar" to express their joy and gratitude that she had survived.
Following births and deaths
The phrase is used after the birth of a child as a means of praising God.
During the Eid Festival and the Hajj
In warfare and politics
During the Iranian revolution of 1979, it was shouted from rooftops in Iran during the evenings as a form of protest. This practice returned in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, to protest the election results. Many people shouted it from 22:00–22:30 every night, after the 2009 Iranian election to protest the result.
In Syrian and Iraqi insurgency
In videos released during the course of the Syrian Civil War, Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra Front, other rebel and Islamist groups and ISIL forces are heard shouting "Takbir" and "Allāhu akbar" in the background while fighting. Even more "secular" groups such as the Free Syrian Army - Operation Southern Storm have been heard yelling the phrase before the firing of heavy weapons.
In the course of the Iraqi insurgency, Islamist fighters are seen and heard shouting "Takbir" and "Allāhu akbar".
Jihadist and the Islamic extremist videos have also shown its fighters making Takbir with a pointing finger up.
Radical fundamentalist usage
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the FBI released a letter reportedly handwritten by the hijackers and found in three separate locations on the day of the attacks—at Dulles International Airport, at the Pennsylvania crash site, and in hijacker Mohamed Atta's suitcase. It included a checklist of final reminders for the 9/11 hijackers. An excerpt reads: "When the confrontation begins, strike like champions who do not want to go back to this world. Shout, 'Allāhu akbar,' because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers." Also, in the cockpit voice recorders found at the crash site of Flight 93, the hijackers are heard reciting the Takbīr repeatedly as the plane plummets toward the ground and the passengers attempt to retake control of the plane.
When in March 2002 Maryam Mohammad Yousif Farhat of Hamas, popularized as "Umm Nidal" (and subsequently elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council), learned that her 17-year-old son had died during a suicide attack in which he killed five teenagers, she celebrated by proclaiming "Allāhu akbar" and giving out boxes of halva and chocolates. Imam Samudra, who was sentenced to death for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, chanted the phrase upon hearing his sentence.
In the video of Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq in 2004, the perpetrators can be heard shouting "Allāhu akbar". And in the 2007 Fort Dix attack plot, a group of radical Islamists who were convicted of plotting an attack on the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey had videotaped themselves shooting weapons and shouting "Allāhu akbar". In 2008, Aafia Siddiqui is alleged to have fired at US interrogators while yelling "Allāhu akbar".
During the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, witnesses reported that gunman Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allāhu akbar" before opening fire, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad smiled and said "Allāhu akbar" after receiving a life sentence in 2010 for his attempted bombing.
During the incident aboard American Airlines Flight 1561 in 2011, the person attempting to bash his way into the cockpit was heard shouting "Allāhu akbar". Mohammed Merah recorded himself shouting "Allahu akbar" as he killed three French paratroopers in the 2012 Midi-Pyrénées shootings. In the 2014 Jerusalem synagogue attack witnesses reported that the perpetrators screamed "Allāhu akbar" as they axed and shot at the worshippers. The killers in the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris shouted "Allāhu akbar" during their attack. During the November 2015 Paris attacks, witnesses reported hearing gunmen shouting "Allāhu akbar" before opening fire in the Bataclan theatre, killing 89 people.
When Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was assassinated on 19 December 2016 at Ankara, the capital of Turkey, after shooting the ambassador the shooter shouted "Allāhu akbar" and "Do not forget Aleppo", referring to Russia helping the Syrian government conquer the eastern part of the city of Aleppo only a few days prior to the assassination.
The phrase Allāhu akbar is written on the center of the flag of Iraq, 22 times along the borders of the central white stripe on the flag of Iran, and beneath the Shahada in the flag of Afghanistan in white script on the central red background as determined by the 2004 draft constitution.
During the Persian Gulf war in January 1991, Saddam Hussein held a meeting with top military commanders, where it was decided to add the words Allāhu akbar (described as the Islamic battle cry) to Iraq's flag to boost his secular regime's religious credentials, casting himself as the leader of an Islamic army. Hussein described the flag as "the banner of jihad and monotheism".
In 2004, Iraq's U.S.-picked Governing Council approved a new flag for Iraq that abandoned symbols of Hussein's regime, such as the words Allāhu akbar. In January 2008, however, Iraq's parliament passed a law to change the flag by leaving in the phrase, but changing the calligraphy of the words Allāhu akbar, which had been a copy of Hussein's handwriting, to a Kufic script. The Iraqi flag under Hussein had each of the two words of the phrase written in one of the spaces between the stars on the central band; the 2008 flag, while leaving the phrase in, removes the stars.
The Afghan constitution that came into force on January 4, 2004, required that Allāhu akbar be inscribed on Afghanistan's national flag.
One of the variants of the flag of Pashtunistan features the Takbir on it.
Flag of Iraq, with stylized Kufic script, introduced in 2008
Flag of Iran, introduced in 1980
Flag of 1930s Waziristan (Pakistan) resistance movement
- Deo optimo maximo
- Glossary of Islam
- "The Times of the Five Daily Prayers". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
- "Allahu Akbar". Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-253-21627-3.
- Böwering, Gerhard, God and His Attributes, Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼān, Brill, 2007.
- Macdonald, D. B. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition. Brill, 1971. Volume 3, H-Iram, p. 1093, Ilah.
- E. W. Lane, Arabic English Lexicon, 1893, gives for kabir: "greater, and greatest, in body, or corporeal substance, and in estimation or rank or dignity, and more, or most, advanced in age, older, and oldest" (p. 2587) Archived October 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine..
- A.O.Green (1887). A Practical Arabic Grammar. Clarendon Press. p. 66.
- "The formula, as the briefest expression of the absolute superiority of the One God, is used in Muslim life in different circumstances, in which the idea of God, His greatness and goodness is suggested." Wensinck, A. J. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition. Brill, 2000. Volume 10, T-U, p. 119, Takbir.
- "Symbolism in Terrorism". google.com.
- "Obama, the Media, and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan". google.com.
- "Islam in Russia". google.com.
- "Left-right confusion led to smog air crash". London: The Independent. September 30, 1997. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- "Business - Indonesian Pilot Was Confused Before Crash - Seattle Times Newspaper". nwsource.com.
- Andrea, Crossan. "Survivor Found in Collapsed Bangladesh Building After 17 Days". PRI's The World. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Survivor pulled from Bangladesh ruins after 17 days". Global Post. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Arab commentator screams "Allāhu akbar" after USA's goal on Spain".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "The Permissibility of Reciting Azaan at Graveside". Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Rabbani, Faraz. "The Day of `Arafah: The 9th of Dhu'l Hijjah". Qibla.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Ludwig W. Adamec, Historical Dictionary of Islam, Scarecrow Press, 2nd ed. 2009, pg. 32
- Yahoo News Archived June 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "YouTube". YouTube. June 9, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- "How Iran's opposition inverts old slogans". BBC News. December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009.
- "The Battle for Syria's South (Full Length)". www.news.vice.com. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- FBI Releases Copy of 4 Page Letter Linked to Hijackers Archived September 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.FBI, Press Conference national Press Release, September 28, 2001
- Instructions for the Last Night Archived April 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., PBS Frontline, "Inside the Terror Network, tracking their personal stories."
- "Holy Terrors, Second Edition". google.com.
- Barnett, Tracey (May 3, 2006). "Tracey Barnett: Suicide bombers follow a morality of their own". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Stalinsky, Steven, "Hamas's Philosophy on Raising Martyrs", New York Sun, March 15, 2006, accessed February 5, 2010 Archived April 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
- Palestinian Legislative Council Candidate and Mother of Three Hamas Terrorists Umm Nidal Farhat: Israelis are Not Civilians and There are No Prohibitions on Killing Them; I Am Willing to Sacrifice My Ten Sons Archived August 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Interview with Dream2 TV aired on December 21, 2005. MEMRI TV
- Bynum, Rebecca (February 8, 2006). "The Iconoclast: Spencer: Mother from Hell". New English Review. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- [dead link]
- heraldsun.news.com.au Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Who Did this to Our Bali?". google.com.
- Forbes, Cameron (2007-01-01). Under the Volcano: The Story of Bali. Black Inc. p. 199. ISBN 9781863954099. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "Court convicts Bali commander". BBC News. September 10, 2003. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Nichols, Bill (May 11, 2004). "Video shows beheading of American captive". USA Today. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
- Russakoff, Dale; Eggen, Dan (May 9, 2007). "Six Charged in Plot To Attack Fort Dix". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2007.
- "Five Radical Islamists Charged with Planning Attack on Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey" (PDF) (Press release). United States Department of Justice. May 8, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 30, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Hauser, Christine; Kocieniewski, David (May 8, 2007). "6 Arrested in Plot to Attack Fort Dix". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Bartosiewicz, Petra (January 18, 2010). "Al-Qaeda Woman? Putting Aafia Siddiqui on Trial". Time. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- "Detainee Biography: Ammar al-Baluchi" (PDF). Announncements. US Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 27, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- Hytha, Michael; Glenn Holdcraft (January 19, 2010). "Pakistani Woman Ejected From Trial Over Afghan Attack". BusinessWeek. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Schmitt, Eric (August 5, 2008). "American-trained neuroscientist charged with trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan." The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- "Fort Hood shootings: the meaning of 'Allahu Akbar'". Sunday Telegraph. November 6, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
- "Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad Sentenced to Life". ABC News. October 5, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Baum, Geraldine (October 5, 2010). "Times Square bomber gets life sentence; warns of more attacks". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- "No bail for man who tried to rush plane cockpit". cbsnews.com. 10 May 2011.
- Cody, Edward (March 22, 2012). "Mohammed Merah, face of the new terrorism". The Washington Post.
- Thornhill, Ted (18 November 2014). "British rabbi and three Americans slaughtered in Jerusalem synagogue attack: Worshippers killed at dawn by fanatics screaming 'God is great' armed with knives, axes and guns". Daily Mail. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- Li, David (18 November 2014). New York Post https://nypost.com/2014/11/18/israelis-dead-after-attack-on-jerusalem-synagogue/
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- "Charlie Hebdo attack – latest". BBC News. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- "Paris attacks: terror inside the Bataclan concert hall as gunmen open fire". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Don't Shout Allahu Akbar In Venice Or You'll Get Shot, Says Mayor, Newsweek, Jack Moore 24 Aug 2017
- Venice mayor: Anyone shouting 'Allahu akbar' in St Mark's Square will be shot, Independent, Jon Sharman, 24 Aug 2017
- Venice mayor: Anyone who shouts 'Allahu Akbar' will be shot, Fox News, 24 Aug 2017
- "''New Straits Times'". google.com. January 15, 1991. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- "U.S.-picked Iraq leaders approve new flag". USA Today. April 26, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Deroy Murdock. "Murdock, Deroy, "The 9/11 Connection," The National Review, April 3, 2003". Article.nationalreview.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- ''Saddam's war of words: politics, religion, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait'', Jerry Mark Long, University of Texas Press, 2004, ISBN 0-292-70264-7. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- "Rosen, Nir, "Iraq's religious tide cannot be turned back," ''Asia Times''". Atimes.com. May 26, 2004. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, "Iraqi Lawmakers Vote to Change Flag," USA Today, January 22, 2008, accessed February 9, 2010 Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
- Abdul, Qassim (February 5, 2008). "Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, "Iraq unveils flag without Saddam's stars", ''USA Today''". Usatoday.com. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- ''Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran'', Iran, Hamid Algar Mizan Press, 1980, ISBN 0-933782-02-0. October 17, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Jacoby, Jeff, "Is Israel a Jewish State?", The Boston Globe, November 14, 2007, accessed February 11, 2010 Archived August 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- [ McCarthy, Andrew C., "Cold Comfort on Islam and Apostasy; No one who’s actually read the Afghan constitution should be surprised by the Abdul Rahman case", National Review, March 27, 2006, accessed February 11, 2010]
- ""Analysis: A ride on the wild side," ''UPI''". Accessmylibrary.com. September 19, 2005. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Rohi Baalbaki (1995). Al-Mawrid (7th ed.). Beirut: Dar El-Ilm Lilmalayin. ISBN 9953-9023-1-3.
- F. Steingass Ph.D., University of Munich (1870). Persian-English Dictionary, Including the Arabic words and phrases to be met with in literature. Beirut: Librairie Du Liban.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Takbir.|