Being a Muslim, it is our firm and unconditional belief that everything, whether good or bad, in our life comes from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Hence, we always express thankfulness and gratitude to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى while also expressing praise to Him under any circumstances, especially when something good comes our way or when we come out of a difficult or unwanted situation.
The best and most commonly used word by Muslims, on any such occasion, is to say “Alhamdulillah” (ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ). This phrase is common all around the Muslim community and most frequently used in their daily routine conversation. Even the Arabic speaking non-Muslims, such as Jews and Christians, also use this phrase to thank God. But amongst Muslims, it is equally popular everywhere, irrespective of the language they speak or the territory they belong to. Saying Alhamdulillah has become a part of our faith.
Alhamdulillah – Meanings
Alhamdulillah is an Arabic word which is also mentioned in the Quran. It is, in fact, the first word of the first Surah of the Quran, named surah Al-Fatiha. According to the dictionary, it means “All praise be to Allah.” The word ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ is a combination of three words. Al, hamd, and lillah. Al means “the” hamd means “praise,” and lillah means “for Allah” or “to Allah.” So, the Arabic word Alhamdulillah can be translated into English as The Praise is for Allah.
Another interpretation of the word Alhamdulillah is “Thanks to Allah.” It can also be used in that sense, just like we often say “Thank God” in English. So, in a wider sense, Alhamdulillah can be used as an alternative to thank God.
There are different translations of Alhamdulillah in English as interpreted by various linguistic experts. The most popular versions are:
- All praise is due to God alone
- All the praises and thanks be to God
- Praise be to God
- All praise is due to God
- All perfect praises belong to the Almighty alone
Alhamdulillah and Quran
If we refer to Surah Al-Fatiha of the Quran, the first words we come across are “ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ “, which means “All praise is for Allah—Lord of all worlds.” So, this verse of surah Al-Fatiha is another way of showing our gratitude and gratefulness to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. It can be referred to as a longer version of saying Alhamdulillah.
Apart from Surah Al-Fatiha, there are four other surahs of the Quran that begin with this phrase. These are, Surah Al-Anaam, Surah Kahf, Surah Saba and Surah Fatir. The phrase Alhamdulillah is mentioned in the Quran around 38 times. That reflects the importance of saying Alhamdulillah in our daily life.
Variants of Alhamdulillah
The Muslim world commonly uses some other Arabic words and phrases that have similar meanings to Alhamdulillah. These are:
- Alhamdulillah-e-Rabil Alameen – ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّٰهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَالَمِينَ – All praise is due to God, Lord of all the worlds.
- Subhanallah-e-Wa be Hamdih – سُبْحَانَ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ – Glorified is God and by His praise
- Subhana Rabbiyal Azeem Wa be hamdih – سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ ٱلْعَظِيمِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ – Glorified is my Lord, the Great, and by His praise.
- Subhana Rabbiyal Ala’a wa be hamdih – سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ وَبِحَمْدِهِ – Glorified is my Lord, the Most High, and by His praise.
Alhamdulillah and Sunnah
Saying Alhamdulillah under every circumstance is also established in Sunnah. Hadith number 3803 of Sunan Ibn Majah, in the Book of Etiquettes, explains it.
“When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saw something he liked, he would say: ‘Al-hamdu lillahil-ladhi bi ni’matihi tatimmus-salihat (Praise is to Allah by Whose grace good deeds are completed).’ And if he saw something that he disliked, he would say: ‘Al-hamdu lillahi ‘ala kulli hal (Praise is to Allah in all circumstances).'”
How We Respond to Alhamdulillah
When someone says Alhamdulillah as an expression of showing his praise and gratitude to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, the listener should also say the same words. One can also say some other words or even he may keep silent. However, responding with the same words, Alhamdulillah is the best reaction, as it is an agreement on your part that you also express praise to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and show your gratitude that whatever has happened, either good or bad, is from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
It is also believed that when someone sneezes, he should say Alhamdulillah and the listener should reply by saying Yarhamku Allah (may Allah have mercy on you). But this is specifically meant for a certain happening. In general, the best response to Alhamdulillah is repeating the same words, Alhamdulillah.
When We Should Say Alhamdulillah
As discussed above, saying Alhamdulillah is a common practice among Muslims worldwide. We use this phrase frequently on various occasions. However, here are some of the most common occasions when we should express our gratitude and praise to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى:
· Show Your Gratitude for Everything
We believe, as Muslims, that everything that we have, is granted to us by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So, we need to be grateful to Him for all His blessings. The best way to thank Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى for His endless blessings on us is to say Alhamdulillah. So, while taking our meals, we should often say Alhamdulillah, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has blessed us with food.
· Make it a Habit to Say Alhamdulillah
Being Muslims, we should make it a habit to say Alhamdulillah often in our daily life routine. It is our humble appreciation that whatever Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has given us is His blessing on us. When someone asks you how your job is going, we should say, Alhamdulillah, it’s going well. Or, in response to someone’s query about your health, you should say, Alhamdulillah, I am well now. So, this way we can make it a part of our routine conversation.
· Show Your Gratitude When Something Good Comes Your Way
It is our belief and faith that everything comes our way from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So whenever something good happens, such as success in a sports event, successfully achieving a business target, or completion of a task, one must express his thankfulness to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, saying Alhamdulillah, it all happened with His will.
· Coming Out of a Difficult Situation
Difficult times and hardships are part of life. Everyone faces such unwanted situations so often during his life. While it is also our belief as a Muslim that all such times are from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and it is a test of our faith, we should remain thankful to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى under any such circumstances. But when we come out of such happenings and the difficult time is over, we should say Alhamdulillah, the bad time has gone.
Benefits of Saying Alhamdulillah
The benefits of saying Alhamdulillah are countless. But we can summarize some of them as under:
· Praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is Pleasing Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى
The ultimate cause of everyone in this world is to please Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى with our acts. So, praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is one of the best thing one can do to get blessings and favors of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as narrated in 7th verse of Surah Ibrahim in Quran.
And ˹remember˺ when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.’”
Hence, praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى by saying Alhamdulillah is a way of getting His endless blessings.
· Praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Encourages Gratitude
By saying Alhamdulillah, actually reminds us that everything we have in our life was only possible with the blessings of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. So, it encourages us to show more gratitude and praise to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى
· Praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Further Strengthens Our Faith in Him
Every time we express our praise and gratitude to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, our faith (Eeman) is renewed and strengthened. When we praise Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى for something He blessed on us, it is a sort of our acceptance that He is the Ultimate Authority, hence it increases our faith in Him.
· Praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Brings Positivity in Our thoughts
Happiness, prosperity and success in every walk of life come from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and we praise Him for all His blessings. Similarly, hardships also come from Him. So, instead of feeling sorrow or worried about any such eventuality, we should still show our gratitude to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and request Him to bless us with His favors so that we may come out of this difficult time. So praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى by saying Alhamdulillah will definitely bring positivity in our thoughts, which will help a lot to come out of difficult times.
· Praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is a rich source of Rewards
The beauty of Islamic rituals is that every act gets huge rewards. Every time we call Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى for something, it is counted towards our worship and He rewards us. So, saying Alhamdulillah is also rewarded by Him. So, we should say it frequently to get rewarded by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
All happiness in our life and every sorrow that comes our way is from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. It’s a part of our faith that everything that we have or we will have in the future is with the blessings of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Hence, we need to show our gratitude to Him by praising Him and showing thankfulness to Him.
The phrase Alhamdulillah, is the best way of praising Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. The importance of saying this phrase is established both in the Quran and Hadith, as explained above. The benefits of doing so are countless, as are the blessings of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى are countless. One should always remain grateful to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى for all His favors and blessings on us.