Quranic Reflection No 622 Āyat 1:2 Praising Allah ‘azza wajall.

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الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

(Sūrat al-Hamd, No. 1, Āyat 2)

In the opening chapter of the Holy Quran, Allah teaches His servant words by which he can speak to his Creator. Man does not have the capacity to fathom the reality of Allah and consequently he cannot truly attest to His praise. Just the fact that Allah the Exalted has allowed man—who is utterly poor and dependent in his essence—to call upon Him and praise Him is itself a magnificent blessing. In the words of Imam al-Sajjad (peace be upon him) in the Whispered Supplication of the Rememberers (munājāt al-dhākirīn):

Among Your greatest favours to us is the running of Your remembrance across our tongues and Your permission to us to supplicate You, declare You exalted, and call You holy! 

(Sahīfah Sajjādiyyah, Du‘ā 1, passages  8-9).

Elsewhere, the same Imam explains that had the ability to praise Allah been withheld from mankind, they would have left the bounds of humanity and descended to beastliness, nay even worse! 

With this understanding that we are unable to fathom the entirety and significance of Allah’s praise, we ought to realize that we will naturally fall short in truly understanding the meaning of this verse, despite constantly repeating it. Paying attention to this should fill us with humility as we are uttering it. We recite it without any arrogant claim, rather only because our Lord has revealed it so. Certain other verses from the Holy Quran emphasize this point that aside from certain purified individuals, no one else has the capacity to attribute anything to Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā .

سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ ‎ إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ 

Clear is Allah of whatever they allege [about Him] —[all] except Allah’s exclusive servants. 

(Q 37:159-160)

Consequently, nothing we say can be considered as true praise of Allah. Of course, we must exert efforts and try to improve the quality of our prayer, not hastening to complete it or allowing our attention to be distracted from Him. Nonetheless if our prayer, with all its faults, is even accepted it is only out of His infinite mercy.

A final and encouraging point in this regard is that in various narrations from the Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them) the importance of performing supererogatory (nāfilah) actions or prayers has been emphasized by saying that this is the means of compensating for and amending the defects in the obligatory actions. For example, it is narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir ‘alayhis-salām: And verily we only order that the supererogatory actions are performed so that in this way people can complete [and compensate for] what is lacking in the obligatory actions.

In the month of Ramadan, we should try hard to enhance the quality of our prayer and increase in our humility in it. We pray that He, by the sake of the Noble Messenger and his purified progeny, blesses us with the ability to perform the supererogatory prayers and rectify that which is lacking in our obligatory prayers, especially in this blessed season of worship.

Sources: ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il al-Shī‘ah, v 4., p. 71.


ALI 657: Living Islam through Combating the Self.

This course on Zoom is designed to give a 15-minute spiritual dose daily during Month of Ramadan. We will InshāAllah discuss 2 -3 Hadiths on Jihād al-Nafs from Wāsā’il al-Shī‘ah of Hurr al-‘Āmilī and see how we can implement them in Living Islam.

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