.. الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ
Praise be to Allah,..
-Surah Al-Fatihah, Ayah 2
Together, this phrase is called hamdalah or tahmid.
Hamdalah is the praise which Allah chooses for Himself to be recited by His servants.
In hamdalah, Allah is the bestower of praise (because the Quran is from Him) and He is also the receiver of praise.
The al- before the word hamd shows that the word encompasses all types of praises and thanks, befitting for Allah.
Next, in arabic language, there are several words for praise, for example: hamdu, madah, shukr and many more.
Allah chooses hamd in this surah instead of the other words.
Madah and other similar words are used to refer to praises for flattering someone (eg lovers, royalties or leaders), usually to obtain favours in return. They are also used to show gratitude for involuntary acts.
Shukr and other similar words are used for thanking/ acknowledging someone after receiving benefits.
However, linguistically, hamd’s meaning is much more comprehensive than these. This word not only embodies the idea of (i) thankfulness but also has reference to the (ii) intrinsic qualities of the object of praise. Hamd is (iii) always true and used only about such acts as are (iv) volitional. It also implies (v) admiration, magnifying and honouring of the Object of praise or His actions, (vi) humility and submissiveness in the person who offers it.
Why Praise Allah?
Within this surah itself, Allah states some of His praiseworthy attributes:
- He is the Lord of the worlds (1:2). We thank Him for creating the earth for mankind’s provision and dwellings. We also praise Him for His wisdom and ability to create all things.
- He is the Beneficent, the Merciful (1:3). We thank Him for His constant provisions to us regardless our faith and for choosing to guide us to know and believe in Him. We also praise Him for His perfect attributes regardless of His actions.
- He is the owner of the day of recompense (1:4). We thank Him for His mercy and abundant rewards for the believers. We praise Him for creating the day of recompense and for being the best judge in rewarding and punishing His servants.
Furthermore, Allah chooses hamdalah to be part of Al Fatihah, the chapter which is to be recited in every solah and everytime a servant reads the Quran. So Allah taught us to praise Him because He prefers to be praised. Plus, it is His right to receive praises from His servants.
Mentioning Hamdalah is a Trait of People with Good Character
If we observe the arrangement of the surah, it is clear that Allah taught us to praise Him before we ask for His guidance. It is a general arrangement for any supplications, forming part of the ethics in our relationship with Allah.
Besides Al Fatihah, Allah also teaches us that the phrase alhamdulillah is the statement of thankful persons in other places within the Quran:
- In 23:28 by Nuh (Noah) when they were rescued from the great flood.
- In 14:39 by Ibrahim (Abraham) for being blessed with Ishaq (Isaac) at an old age.
- In 27:15 by Dawud (David) and Sulayman (Solomon) for Allah’s favours to them.
- In 17:111 Allah teaches mankind how to glorify Him.
- In 35:34 by people of the Gardens.
- In 10:10 by the faithfuls.
Furthermore, Rasulullah pbuh taught us that no servant is blessed by Allah and says the hamdalah, except that what he was given (the reward by saying the hamdalah) is better than that which he acquired himself.
Even when we praise someone for his brilliance or wr thank someone for his favour, we are actually thanking and praising Allah because He is the one who enabled the favor and brilliance to manifest.
1. Allah deserves the praise no matter what He does or doesn’t. He is the wise and all knowing. Everything He does has reasons and wisdom behind them. He is the best planner and we are ignorant except what He decides for us to know.
2. The hamdalah is better than the world and its treasures, because the world will perish but the word will last, to be rewarded in the Hereafter.
Praise is due to Allah, regardless of anything.