Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest. There is none worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest and all Praise belongs to Him
Navida Sayed, London
Allahu Akbar, meaning ‘Allah is the Greatest’ is a beautiful phrase encapsulating everything good and great. Allah is the Greatest, Most Compassionate and Ever Merciful. Unfortunately, in recent times hotheads, extremists and terrorists have sinisterly embraced the phrase as their slogan to justify their evil acts. The world is left with a bad view of the misused and abused words which, brutal merciless killers shout before misdeeds, shooting, beheading or blowing up innocent civilians.
Perpetrators, who have misused the sacred phrase in the name of Islam, were more often than not, found to be under the heavy influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness whilst committing their crime. Those who misuse and abuse the phrase are attention seeking narcissists who lose their credibility to rightfully associate themselves with Islam the moment they commit their barbarity.
The global mass media provides the terrorists undivided attention. At the same time the media is equally responsible for maligning the true, peaceful image of Islam. The peaceful, law abiding Muslims, promoting peace are not seen as newsworthy. However the deadly, dangerous terrorists doing their heinous deeds in the name of Islam always garner lurid captions. The media is obsessed with the negative portrayal of Islam depicting exaggerated and sensationalized headlines resulting in mockery of the sacred phrase which perpetuates Islamophobia.
Remembrance of Allah is a great virtue of high status in Islam, not just uttering words for the sake of it, rather the sole purpose is to remain vigilant of one’s actions, remaining ever humble in spirit and glorifying God. The Qur’an states:
‘…and remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue…’ (Al Ankabut, Ch. 29:46)
‘And remember the name of thy Lord during the morning as well as the evening.’ (Al Dahr, Ch.76:26)
Islam commands Muslims to remember and glorify Allah, but it does not permit or sanction miscreants and terrorists to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’, and kill innocent civilians. This violent action is against the basic tenets of Islam. The Qur’an states:
‘…Whosoever killed a person unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind…’ (Al Ma’idah, Ch.5: v. 33)
It is evident from this Quranic verse that unless someone is killed in a legitimate battlefield, it is unjust and unacceptable to kill innocent civilians. In the eyes of Allah the Greatest, killing of innocent civilians is equivalent to the killing of the entire human race. This is a grievous sin.
The reporting of heinous attacks of terrorists has become prevalent in the media. On so many occasions, it has been misreported, that Allahu Akbar is an aggressive declaration shouted by terrorists before attacking, to strike terror into the hearts of the ‘enemies’. This is inaccurate. Muslims are clearly aware that according to Hadith, ‘they should not strike terror into the general population. They should permit no ill treatment of common folk.
The station and glory of Allah the Greatest should instil awe into hearts of all believing Muslims, so they never commit any injustice or atrocity.
‘True believers are only those whose hearts tremble when the name of Allah is mentioned…’ (Al Anfal, Ch. 8:3)
Indeed, true Muslims should tremble in fear even at contemplating the thought of committing any injustice or terrorist act. The Qur’an states:
‘O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do.’ (Al-Ma’idah – Ch.5:V.9)
True remembrance of Allah can lead to comfort and peace of the heart. Besides the personal name ‘Allah’, there are ninety-nine names of God Almighty. Muslims try to memorize them and pray reflecting on the beautiful qualities and attributes of these names. These wonderful qualities of Allah the Greatest are self-explanatory. And if a Muslim upholds them with sincerity, he will never shout out the sacred phrase Allahu Akbar in vain.
The ninety-nine Divine attributes are as follows:
The Gracious, The Merciful, The Sovereign, The Holy,The Source of Peace, The Guardian of Faith, The Protector, The Mighty, The Compeller, The Majestic, The Creator, The Maker, The Fashioner, The Forgiver, The The Subduer, The Bestower, The Provider, The Opener, The All-Knowing, The Seizer, The Expander, The Depressor (of the proud), The Exalter, The Bestower of Honour, The Abaser, The All Hearing, The All-Seeing, The Judge, The Just, The Subtle One, The All-Aware, The Forbearing, The Great, The Most Forgiving, The Appreciator, The High, The Great, The Guardian, The Sustainer, The Reckoner, The Sublime, The Noble, The Vigilant, The Responder, The Bountiful, The Wise, The Loving, The Glorious, The Resurrector, The Witness, The True, The Trustee, The Powerful, The Strong, The Friend, The Praiseworthy, The One who Keeps Count , The Originator, The Restorer, The Giver of Life, The Giver of Death, The Living, The Self-Subsistent, The Finder, The Glorious, The One, The Unique (The Lord of Unity), The Eternal, The Possessor of Power and Authority, The Omnipotent, The Expediter, The Postponer, The First, The Last, The Manifest, The Hidden, The Ruler, The Most Exalted, The Beneficent, The Oft-Returning, The Avenger, The Pardoner, The Compassionate, The Lord of Sovereignty, The Lord of Majesty and Bounty, The Equitable, The Gatherer, The Self-Sufficient, The Enricher, The Preventor, The Distressor, The Benefactor, The Light, The Guide, The Incomparable, The Everlasting, The Guide to the Right Path, The Ultimate Inheritor, The Patient.
( Tirmidhi Kitabud Da‘wa t Bab Jami’ad-Da’wat Hadiqatus Sailhin, pp 9-11)
The sacred phrase Allahu Akbar has deep significance for sincere, practising Muslims. ‘Allahu Akbar’, are the first words recited in the ears of a new-born baby. The phrase Allahu Akbar is heard five times a day during the call to Prayer. Allahu Akbar brings man to humbleness as he prostates before his Lord in Prayer. Allahu Akbar unites millions of Muslims every year under one banner of peace during the pilgrimage Hajj. Allahu Akbar is the essence of universal brotherhood, uniting human beings irrelevant of age, race or creed, when man gathers in complete purity and submission before God, reciting;
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar allahu akbar wa lillahil hamd (Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest. There is none worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest and all Praise belongs to Him).
Allahu Akbar is a sacred phrase at the core of what sincere, peaceable and devout Muslims believe and practice and deserves to be recognised as such.