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      Tafseer - Explanation of the Qur'aan

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VERSE TWO

         ·           The saying of the Exalted: "All Praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the Universe":

 Meaning of word Hamd - The meaning of hamd is praise and extolling (praise, admire, worship). It also carries the meaning of ridaa (pleasure) and is the opposite of dhamm (blame, accuse).

 Hamd includes shukr - Because Hamd is more general and inclusive than that of shukr (giving thanks). This is due to the reason that Shukr is expressed as a response (reaction) to a favor whereas hamd is expressed both as a response to a favor as well as a spontaneous (willing, voluntary) action of dhikr.

Ibn Abbaas said that ‘Al-Hamdu Lillaah is the word of everyone who gives thanks and if anyone said: “Al-Hamdu Lillaah” then Allah says: “My slave has thanked me.” [Narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim]

Hamd is more general (inclusive, widespread) with respect to when it is done and shukr is more general (inclusive, widespread) with respect to how it is done.

 Some of the scholars said that shukr is more encompassing (embracing, inclusive) than hamd because Praise is expressed by the tongue whereas thanks can be expressed by the tongue, heart and limbs.

A thanks with the tongue is done by praising the Bestower of Blessings. Thanks by the limbs are done by acting in obedience to Him and abandoning actions of disobedience. Thanks in the heart is done by recognizing the magnitude (extent, importance) of the blessing and knowing that it has been given by the grace of Allah and not by the servants own merit. Both opinions are correct in their own place:

Ibn Jareer also said: “Al-Hamdu Lillaah is praise: Allah praises Himself and directs us to do likewise, as if He said: “Say: Al-Hamdu Lillaah...”

The Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “The best remembrance (of Allah) is La Ilaaha IllAllah (i.e. none is worthy of worship except Allah), and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillaah.” [Narrated by Ibn Maajah, At-Tirmizi, An-Nasaa’i and others)

Hence, it is due to the comprehensiveness (depth) of this word that we find the Prophets showing gratitude (thanks, gratefulness) in the Qur`aan by expressing hamd. [1]

Allah commanded our Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) saying: "Say: All praises and thanks are due to Allah Who has not begotten a son, and who has no partner in His Dominion, nor He is low to have a Wali (helper, protector or supporter)…” [Soorah Al-Israa` (17): 111]

These will be the words of the people of Paradise, thanking and praising Allah for His Great Favor:

They would say "All praises and thanks are due to Allah Who has removed from us all grief." [(35): 34] "And the close of their supplication will be: All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of the Universe." [(10): 10]

Composition - Precedence of the word Hamd by the definite article ‘al’

In the verse the word hamd has been preceded by the definite article al, the reason for this is to include all the different manners of praise and specify them to Him. It is an extolling with which Allah has praised Himself and ordered His servants to praise Him with.

This meaning is further expressed in the hadeeth where the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “O Allaah! To You belongs all praise and thanks in its entirety, to you belongs the dominion in its entirety, in Your hand is all goodness in its entirety and to You returns the affair in its entirety. [Ibn Abee ad-Dunya from the hadeeth of Anas. Al-Bayhaqee from the hadeeth of Sa`d bin Abee Waqqaas and Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree.]

 Therefore by saying al-Hamdulillaah, the servant is praising and thanking Allah Alone because of His greatness, unity, perfection, His Beautiful Names and Attributes and His innumerable favors and blessings that none can encompass save He. It is indeed an amazing statement that encompasses something that volumes would be unable to express and created intellects unable to enumerate! All praise belongs to Allaah!

No mentioning of the Adverb denoting ‘when’ and ‘where’ is Allah’s Praise - There is no mention in this verse as to the adverb denoting when this praise is said (dharf az-zamaan) or from where this praise comes from (dharf al-makaan).

However, we learn this in Soorah Rum where Allah discloses this issue (i.e. dharf al-makaan (where) are His Praises) saying: “And His is all the praises and thanks in the heavens and the earth." [Soorah Rum (30): 18]

Allah also informed us in His Final Revelation as to when is His Praise voiced: He said: “And He is Allah, none has the right to be worshipped besides Him. To Him belongs all praise in the beginning (i.e. this world) and in the end (i.e. the Hereafter)." [Soorah Qasas (28): 70]

And His saying in the beginning of Surah Saba`a implies the same point: “His is all the praise in the Hereafter, and He is the All-Wise, All-Aware." [Soorah As-Saba`a (34): 1]

Virtues of Al- Hamdulillah  
1. Al-Hamdulillah  - Pleases Allah, the Exalted  

Narrated Anas bin Maalik that the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “Indeed Allah is pleased at His servant when he eats some food and praises Him for it or when he drinks a drink and praises Him for it. [Saheeh Muslim Eng. trans. 4/1429 no. 6592]

2. Al-Hamdulillah - Better than the entire world. 
Narrated Anas bin Maalik (radiyallahu anhu): “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “If the entire world along with its contents were to be in the hand of a man from my nation and then he were to say al-Hamdulillaah, then al-Hamdulillaah would be better than [what his hand contained]." [Tirmidhee reports in ‘Nawaadir al-Usul’]

Al-Qurtobee commented upon this saying: “This means that granting of the entire world is not very great blessing in comparison to the guidance of uttering Al-Hamdulillah. This statement is better than the world because the world is soon to perish whereas the statement will endure (prevail, exist) for it is from those righteous deeds that remain. Allah said: “The righteous deeds that last are better in the Sight of your Lord, for reward and better for resort (hope, chance)." [Soorah Maryam (19): 76]

 3. Al-Hamdulillah - Fills the Scale  
Narrated Abu Musaa al-Ash`aree: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “Purity is half of faith. Al-Hamdulillaah fills the scales and Subhaan Allah wal-Hamdulillaah fills what is between the heaven and the earth.” [Muslim Eng.tran. 1 # 432]

4. Al- Hamdulillah - Most excellent supplication  
Narrated Jaabir bin Abdullaah: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “The most excellent dhikr is ‘Laa ilaaha illallah and the most excellent supplication is [the statement] al-Hamdulillaah.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhee [no. 3623]. It was declared hasan by Al-Albaanee in ‘Saheeh at-Tirmidhee’ [no. 2694]

Meaning of the word 'Rabb’ 
Linguistically the word rabb means master (one who is obeyed), owner, one who puts something in order. When used in a possessive structure it can be applied to other than Allah, for example it is said ‘rabb ad-daar’(the master of the house), similarly in the Qur’aan it is mentioned that Yusuf (alaihi as-salaam) said to one of the inmates of prison: “Mention me in the presence of your master. (Rabbika)" [Yusuf (12): 42] Likewise, it is mentioned in the famous hadeeth of Jibreel, when the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) listed some of the signs of the Hour: “…When the slave-girl gives birth to her master (rabbatahaa)..." [Sahih Muslim eng. Trans. v1 #1]

However the word ar-Rabb can only ever be applied to Allah as it is one of the Names of Allah and means the One Who cultivates (builds) and sustains (maintains, preserves) all of His servants through regulating the affairs and granting all types of favors and blessings. [See Fundamentals of Allah’s Names & Attributes ]

Meaning of the word aalamen - ‘Aalameen’ is the plural of ‘aalam’ and ‘aalam’ is itself a plural and has no singular. Except Allah all the creation is known as Aalam. So all generations and species are a world (Aalam) of its own.

 Allah Himself manifested the meaning of Aalameen in the Qur’aan recalling the words of Pharaoh when he said: “and what is the Lord of the Aalameen?” He (Moosa (alaihi as-salaam) said: “the Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them." [Ash-Shu`araa (26): 23-24]

Ibn Abbaas (radiyallahu anhu) said in explanation to this verse of al-Faatihah: “All praise and thanks are due to Allah, to Whom belongs the creation in its entirety (totality), the heavens and the earth and whosoever is in them and whatsoever is between them – that which is known and unknown.”

We Learn – Fundamentals of Tawheed ar-Ruboobeyyah –  (Maintaining the Unity of Allah’s Lordship)  
We learn from the meaning of the word ‘Rabb’ that Allah is the sole Creator of the Universe, all the affairs are under His disposition, He maintains and Sustains it, He is Self-Sufficient and the Creation is in need of Allah. From the latter part of the verse we know that He is distinct from His creation and not everywhere. These are issues is unanimously agreed upon by the Salafs [2]and clearly proven by a multitude of texts from the Book and the Sunnah:

“Allah created all things and He is the Wakil’ (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian etc.) over all things.” [Soorah Zumar (39): 62]

“No calamity strikes except by the will of Allah.” [Soorah at-Taghaabun (64): 11]

“The Rahmaan Istawa (rose) upon the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” [Soorah Ta-Ha 20: 25]


[1]  [Al-Mu`minoon (23): 28]  [Ibraaheem (14): 39]  [An-Naml (27): 15]  [Faatir (35): 34]  [Yunus (10): 10]

  [2] Salaf: lit. Predecessor. The early righteous Muslim, particularly those of the first three generations. Salafee: One who knows Salaf- us-Saaliheen and loves them, tries to follow their way (manhaj) & sticks to their creed aqeedah.  

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