سُبْحَانَ الله : Negating all defects and flaws i.e. Allah is free from all shortcomings.
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّه: Affirming all of the attributes of perfection and majesty for Allah.
What Does سُبْحَانَ الله (Tasbih) Mean?
سُبْحَانَ الله means to glorify Allah above any imperfection or deficiency i.e. Allah is free from all defects. Allah is the Most Glorified Who has no partner or rival, Who possesses every aspect of perfection, and Whose actions are pure and free from evil.
What Does اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّه (Tahmid) Mean?
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّه is an expression that encompasses both:
(1) gratitude (for what Allah has blessed us with)
(2) and praise (Allah is worthy of every possible praise on account of His very existence, as well as for His Mercy, Generosity and all of His other Noble Attributes and Names).
He is Praised by virtue of His Praise for Himself and by virtue of His servants’ praise for Him. Their praise of Him emanates from their love and reverence of Him. Whilst uttering اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّه, one should reflect on the blessings of Allah and His Perfect Names.
“When Allah grants a blessing to a slave, upon which the slave praises Him, the praise of the slave is better than the blessing itself.” (Ibn Mājah)
What Are the Virtues of Tasbih, Tahmid & Takbir?
– The Most Beloved Statements to Allah
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The most beloved statements to Allah are four: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلهِ ، وَلَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَر.” (Muslim)
They are also “the best words after the Qur’ān.” (Aḥmad)
– The Best Companion in a Believer’s Life
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There is none better in the sight of Allah than a believer whose life is lengthened in Islam and who frequently utters takbīr, tasbīḥ, tahlīl and taḥmīd.” (Aḥmad)
– They Wipe Sins Away
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There is not anyone upon the earth who says:
لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، وَسُبْحَانَ اللهِ ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلهِ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله
except that his sins shall be pardoned, even if they were like the foam of the sea.” (Tirmidhī)
– Heavy on the Scales
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “There are two statements that are light on the tongue, heavy on the Scale and are beloved to the Most Merciful: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ ، سُبْحَانَ اللهِ الْعَظِيْم.” (Bukhārī)
– Unparalleled Reward
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Perform tasbīḥ 100 times, for it is equivalent to freeing 100 slaves among the children of Ismāʿīl. Perform taḥmīd 100 times, for it is equivalent to 100 saddled and bridled horses which you load in the path of Allah. Peform takbīr 100 times, for it is equivalent to 100 adorned and accepted camels.” (Aḥmad)
– A Form of Charity
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Every tasbīḥ is a charity, every takbīr is a charity, every taḥmīd is a charity, and every tahlīl is a charity.” (Muslim)
– Protection from the Hell-Fire
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “For your shield from the Hell-Fire, say: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلهِ ، وَلَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَر as they will indeed come on the Day of Judgement as saviours and preceding good actions, and they are the lasting good deeds of the righteous.” (Ḥākim)
– The Plants of Paradise
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “I met Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi s-salām) on the Night of al-Isrā’ (night journey), and he said to me: ‘O Muhammad, convey my greetings to your ummah, and tell them that Paradise has pure soil and sweet water, and it is a flat treeless plain. Its plants are: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلهِ وَلَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَاللهُ أَكْبَر. ’”
He ﷺ also said: “Whoever says سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِه, a palm-tree will be planted for him in Paradise.” (Tirmidhī)
– They Gather Around the Throne of Allah
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Indeed what you remember of Allah’s Glory (by uttering) tasbīḥ, takbīr, tahlīl and taḥmīd, gather around the Throne of Allah, buzzing like bees, mentioning to Allah the person who uttered them. Do you not wish to have someone who mentions you by Him?” (Ibn Mājah)
“There is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does.” (Bukhārī)
What Does اَللهُ أَكْبَر (Takbir) Mean?
اَللهُ أَكْبَر means ‘Allah is Greater than…’ By not specifying what He is Greater than, one is saying that He is Greater than everything. Allah is Greater than anything we can imagine and His Greatness encompasses all things: He is Great in His Essence, His Names, His Attributes and His Actions.
Allah is Supreme and Transcendent above every limitation and deficiency that is inherent in created beings.
Our limited minds are unable to comprehend the Greatness of Allah. However one can attempt to appreciate His Greatness by pondering over His creation. When a person ponders on the greatness of Allah’s creation such as the heavens, the earth, His Kursī and His Majestic Throne, and then realises his own inability to comprehend them due to their greatness, he arrives at the most important realisation: how Great must their Creator be!
“The seven heavens in comparison to the Kursī is nothing but like a ring thrown in a desert, and the excellence of the Throne of Allāh over the Kursī is like the excellence of that desert over that ring.” (Bayhaqī)