In Muslim culture, people say Alhamdulah when they are asked “how are you today?” The meaning of Alhamdulelah is thank you Allah for everything that you provided me, either good or bad. Thank you for your bounties and sustenance, for without your endless blessings, I would be in lost and astray. Indeed, anything that Allah provides to his creation is a blessing.
Muslims say Alhamdulelah every time they pray and at least 5 times a day when they recite surah Al Fatiha. Most people say Alhamdulah without understanding the hidden meaning behind the word and whether it means praising Allah or thanking Allah. I explain below the difference between Hamd (praise) and Shukr (thanking), and why is it important to say Alhamdulelah in every moment of our lives.
What is the difference between Hamd (praise) and Shukr (thanking)?
Hamd is done with love and reverence, but Shukr does not require this. In addition, Shukr is done in response to a favor or a gift that is given to a person. Hamd is performed because the one being praised and thanked is worthy of it.
The letters Alif and Lam before the word Hamd serve to encompass all types of thanks and appreciation for Allah Almighty. A Hadith stated,
«اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ كُلُّهُ، وَلَكَ الْمُلْكُ كُلُّهُ، وَبِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ كُلُّهُ، وَإِلَيْكَ يُرْجَعُ الْأَمْرُ كُلُّهُ»
(O Allah! All of Al-Hamd is due to You, You own all the ownership, all types of good are in Your Hand and all affairs belong to You.)
Therefore, Hamd encompasses Shukr or thanking.
We Thank Allah Almighty’s endless favors and bounties which include:
- The tools to help his creatures worship him
- The physical bodies provided to us in order to follow his commands,
- The sustenance that he provided for every creation in this life, without wanting any anything and asking nothing from his servants to pay back.
- Allah also warned his creation and alerted them on the methods they can apply to earn everlasting happiness. All thanks and praise are due to Allah for these favors from beginning to end.
If a believer is not saying Alhamdulelah, he is not happy with Allah’s favors and blessings and so he is not happy with Allah. This person is not happy with their circumstances and with what Allah has brought to his life as in a form of Illness, sick child, death of loved ones, etc..
Every thing happens according to Allah’s plan and wisdom. He controls our lives and circumstances as he wishes, for everything that happens to us is either a test or blessing. We can win the test by thanking Allah or fail miserably by condemning the situations we are in; and therefore, we develop bad thoughts about Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) related to us that Allah says: “I am as My servant thinks of Me. I am with him when he remembers Me. If he mentions Me within himself, I mention him within Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly. If he comes near to Me a hand-span, I come near to him the distance of a cubit. If he comes near to Me the distance of a cubit, I come near to him the distance of two outspread arms. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî(6856) and Sahîh Muslim (4832)]
Allah says in the hadith above: “I am as My servant thinks of Me…”, which means that Allah will treat us as we view him. If we love Allah, he will love us. If we have bad thoughts about Allah, he will have bad thoughts about us and he may remove his blessings and will put us in unpleasant situations. Therefore, it is best to always develop loving thoughts and loving relationship with Allah at all circumstances
If you really want to appreciate your current circumstances and being thankful to Allah, then visit hospitals, mental-houses and prisons regularly. Sheikh Nazim