If one truly glorifies Allah, the All-Mighty, praises Him, professes His Oneness, and magnifies Him, this means that he gets to know Him.
If he knows Him, he obeys Him; and if he obeys Him, he deserves His Paradise.
Moreover, what is with Allah is far better and more enduring than the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of this ephemeral world.
The words “Allah is the Greatest” occur at the beginning and end of the Adhan (the Call to prayer), in order that a Muslim feels, while being occupied with his work and business, that what is with Allah is far better and greater than everything with which he is occupied; and, therefore, he’d better respond to Allah’s Call.
We say the words “Allah is the Greatest” at the beginning of salat, and repeat them during the five daily prayers more than 250 times per day.
Some scholars rightly consider them as a prerequisite for prayer, which means that they should be repeated throughout the whole prayer. Therefore, while performing prayer one should constantly remember that Allah is Greater than everything that might distract him from being in humble reverence to his Lord the All-Mighty.
We call out repeatedly: “Allah is the Greatest”, after we have defeated our sins and misdeeds, after the Fast of Ramadan and after Hajj. That is why the prophet (PBUH) enjoined takbeer in the two eids because it emphasizes our servitude to Allah the All-Mighty, and our Return to Him from the worldly life in everything therein.
If a slave of Allah turns to Him with repentance, it is called out in the heavens and the earth: “Congratulate so-and-so for he has reconciled with Allah!”
We also call out repeatedly “Allah is the Greatest” when we face our enemies in the battle-field and after having won victory over them, in order to feel that Allah is Greater than everything and that victory comes only from Allah the All-Mighty, the Exalted in power, and if you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you.
A true believer who is rightly guided to Allah repeats “Allah is the Greatest”, which means for him that whenever a part of Allah’s Greatness, Power, Mercy, and Generosity is unveiled to him, Allah is Greater than what he has been made to see.
In this context, Imam Ash-shafi’i said:
“The more I am increased in knowledge, the more I realize how ignorant I am.”
To wrap up, no matter how great a believer’s knowledge of his Lord might be, Allah, the All-Mighty, is far greater and more Sublime. What is important is not repeating the word “Allah is the Greatest”, but to realize its denotation that is affirmed and determined by the believer’s behavior.
The Prophet’s Example
The Prophet (PBUH) was the best human in realizing the denotation of the words “Allah is the Greatest”.
The people of Quraish sent ‘Utbah Ibn Rabi’a to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in order to tell him:
“You have brought a great thing to your people. Listen to me! I am here to offer you many things that you may accept some of them.
If you seek through this matter wealth or property, we shall collect for you from ours what can make you the richest one among us.
If you seek a high rank, we shall make you our master, and we shall not do anything without your acceptance.
And if you seek sovereignty, we shall make you our sovereign.”
However, his attempt was in vain. Then people of Quraish tried to prevent him from proceeding in his Call, through his uncle Abu Talib. Abu Talib said to him:
“O my nephew! Preserve yourself and me, and do not overburden me with what is over my ability.”
The Prophet (PBUH) said his famous words:
“O my uncle! By Allah, even if they put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left hand in order to leave this matter, I would never leave it until Allah causes it to dominate or else I die defending it.”
Impact of Allahu Akbar on the First Generation
When the Prophet’s Companions said “Allah is the Greatest” with their tongues, their hearts were filled with it, and their deeds affirmed it. So they accomplished, despite their little number, what we cannot accomplish the tenth thereof despite our great number.
That is because the one who says it and his deeds affirm it is equal to one thousand men; whereas a thousand of those who say it but fail to affirm it by their deeds equal nothing.
When Sa’id Ibn ‘Amer’s wife wanted to prevent him from spending money for the Cause of Allah, he addressed her:
“I have companions who preceded me to Allah, and I do not like to deviate from their way, even if the entire worldly life is for me.”
When she tried to seduce him with her beauty, he addressed her:
“You know that there are marvelous Houris in Paradise, if one of them looms upon the earth, the light of her face overwhelms the light of the sun and the moon. So it is worthier to sacrifice you for their sake than to sacrifice them for your sake.”
By such words with which he addressed his wife, this great Companion said “Allah is the Greatest” with his tongue, his heart was filled with it, and his deeds affirmed it.
Omar Ibn Al-Khattab once said to a shepherd whom he wanted to test:
“Sell this sheep to me and take its price!”
He said: “It is not mine.”
Omar said: “Tell its owner that it died or that a wolf ate it, and take its price!”
The man said: “I swear by Allah that I am in urgent need of its price; and if I said to its owner that it died or a wolf ate it, he would believe me; but where is Allah…?!!”
This shepherd said “Allah is the Greatest” with his tongue, his heart was filled with it, and his deeds affirmed it.
If man obeys a creature, whoever it might be, and disobeys his Creator, this means that he has never said “Allah is the Greatest” even if he keeps repeating it with his tongue a thousand times, because his action belies his words when he obeys the one whom he wrongly thinks is more powerful than Allah.
If man cheats in order to gain more money, this means that he has never said “Allah is the Greatest” even if he keeps repeating it with his tongue one thousand times, because he wrongly thinks that this money is greater than obeying Allah and His Messenger.
If man fails to practice the teachings of Islam in his family in order to please them, this means that he has never said “Allah is the Greatest” even if he keeps repeating it with his tongue one thousand times, because he thinks that pleasing his family is greater than pleasing his Lord.
If Muslims knew the real meaning of “Allah is the Greatest”, and, hence, repeated it with their tongue, their hearts were filled with it, and their deeds affirmed it, they would be in a far better position with Allah and other fellow humans.
Let us repeat “Allah is the Greatest” with our tongues and understand its meanings; and let our deeds affirm it, in order to deserve Allah’s Mercy and Victory over our enemies.
Abridged from nabulsi.com.