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Subhanallah

Juwayriyyah, the mother of the believers, may Allāh pleased with her, related that the Prophet, may Allāh send peace and blessings upon him, left her sitting in her place of prayer one morning after having prayed Fajr. On his return during the forenoon he found her still sitting as he had left her, he asked, ‘Are you still in the same state as when I left you?’ She replied, ‘Yes’. The Prophet said, ‘I said after leaving you four sentences three times – if you were to weigh them against what you have said today up until now, they would outweigh them:
Subḥānallāh wa biḥamdihi ‘adada khalqihi wa riḍā nafsihi wa zinata ‘arshihi wa midāda kalimātihi’.”[1]
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have  mercy upon him, provided a commentary on these words of remembrance in one of his works, al-Manār al-Munīf fi‘l-Ṣaḥīḥ wa‘l-Ḍa’īf.[2] He says:
 
In regards to the multifold excellence of,
“How perfect Allāh is and I praise him by the number of His creation; by the pleasure of His self; by the weight of His throne and by the ink of His words,”
over simply saying, “How perfect Allāh is,” a praiser’s knowledge of Allāh and the exaltation and veneration of Him that occurs in his heart is far greater. This is known as intensified remembrance (dhikr muḍā‘af) and is a superior form of praise than simple remembrance (dhikr mufrad), and as such the former is preferred to the latter. This really takes affect once one has awareness and understanding of these words of remembrance.
 
Glorifying Allāh with, ‘How perfect Allāh is and I praise him by the number of His creation’ includes both information and instruction. It comprises of information about the glorification that the Lord deserves – of the number of each of creation that has existed, exists, and will exist to which there is no end; and it informs of the exaltation, veneration and sending of praise by this enormous quantity that cannot be enumerated.
 
It also embodies an instruction for the slave to glorify One whose status is of this manner – it does not mean that the glorification the servant has made is of this level and number but that the servant has affirmed that the Lord subḥānahu wa ta‘ālā is deserving of glorification that reaches this number, which if could be surpassed by an even greater number would have been mentioned – the continual new creation that come into existence have no end to their number and cannot be enumerated by one wishing to put a number to them.
 
Likewise, the phrase, ‘by the pleasure of His self’ carries two considerable points, the first is that the intended meaning is a glorification that in terms of magnificence and majesty is equivalent to the pleasure of His own self, similar to the first phrase showing the glorification equivalent to the number of creation. No doubt that the pleasure of Allāh’s self is a matter that has no end in terms of magnificence and description. Glorification is a praise of Him subḥānahu embodying veneration and exaltation. If the descriptions of his perfection and the qualities of his greatness have no end or limitation but are instead far superior and imposing, praising Him in this manner would be likewise (superior) as it is follows suit both in an informative and instructive manner. This meaning is harmonious to the first part without any disagreement.
 
If His benevolence, reward, blessing and goodness has no end when all of these are a consequence and result of His pleasure, what then of this attribute of His pleasure? It is related in a tradition, ‘If I bless, there is no end to my blessing.’ What then of the quality from where this blessing emanated? Pleasure necessitates love, benevolence, generosity, kindness, pardon, ṣafḥ, forgiveness and mercy. Creation necessitates knowledge, ability, intention, life and wisdom. All of these are encompassed by the pleasure of His self and the quality of Him being a creator.
 
His saying, ‘by the weight of His throne’ affirms the establishment of the throne (al-‘Arsh) and it being associated to the Lord subḥānahu wa ta‘ālā and that it is the heaviest of creation outright, since if there were a creation heavier than the throne, glorification would have been measured against it. This is a direct refutation against those who claim the throne is neither heavy nor light; such a person has no idea about the throne nor has he given it its due estimation. So the first multiplication is that of number and quantity, the second of description and reality, and the third is that of enormity, weight and great scale.
 
As for the phrase, ‘by the ink of His words’ this encompasses all three types; the ink of His words have no end to their measure, description or number. Allāh says, ‘Say: If the sea were ink for (writing) the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like of it as a supplement.’[3] Allāh also says, ‘and if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea (was ink), replenished thereafter by seven (more) seas, the words of Allāh would not be exhausted. Indeed, Allāh is Exalted in Might and Wise.’[4]
 
The meaning of the verse is that if we were to imagine the seas to be ink and add a further seven seas to extend it, all of them representing ink and then all the plants of the earth were pens – this includes any plant or vegetation that stands on a stem – and the pens draw from that ink, the seas and the pens would be exhausted whereas the words of the Lord would not expire. How does this compare to one who describes Him as He who has not spoken, does not speak and that no speech occurs from Him at all? Or one who describes His speech as being a single meaning that is not distinct nor in parts; that it is not described as being part or whole; nor is it sūrahs and āyāt or letters and words?
 
The point is that this glorification includes descriptions of perfection and attributes of grandeur that necessitate it to be better than other forms of remembrance and that if other words were to be weighed against it would measure against them and outweigh them. This is a portion of what these words contain in relation to the understanding of Allāh; praise of Him through exaltation and veneration, along with the link to praising (ḥamd) that comprises of three fundamentals. The first is the affirmation of perfect attributes for Him subḥānahu, and praise of Him. The second is love of Him and contentment with Him. When this praise (ḥamd) is added to this glorification (tasbīḥ) and exaltation in the best possible manner; with the greatest level, greatest quantity and greatest description, and the servant recalls all of this when glorifying (Allāh) and such understanding dwells in his heart; these words of remembrance will contain such merit and excellence that outstrip others forms, and with Allāh lies all success.[5]

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[1] This has been reported by Imam Muslim in his Ṣaḥīḥ, the book of dhikr, chapter on tasbīḥ in the early morning and at sleep.
[2] Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Manār al-Munīf fi ‘l-Ṣaḥīḥ wa ‘l-Ḍa’īf, pp. 17-20. Dar ‘Ālam al-Fawā’id, Riyadh.
[3] al-Kahf, 18:109
[4] Luqmān, 31:27
[5] The following is a relevant footnote from al-Manār al-Munīf fi ‘l-Ṣaḥīḥ wa ‘l-Ḍa’īf , p. 20, ‘The author stated that he would mention three fundamentals but only two are mentioned. Al-Mu‘allimī, may Allāh have mercy upon him, stated that his saying , “and praise for Him” within the first fundamental is actually the second with the third being, “Love of Him and contentment with Him”. As for Abu Ghuddah, may Allāh have mercy upon him, he declared the third fundamental to be his saying, “When this praise is added to this…”.’
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About Sheikh Farid Haibatan

Sheikh Farid Haibatan graduated in Electronic Systems Engineering and holds a bachelors in Engineering (B.eng) from the University of Essex. After graduation he spent a number of years at the Islamic University in Madinah where he studied the Arabic Language and other religious sciences. Since his return from Madinah, he has been involved in Islamic Da’wah and has for many years taught the Arabic language and Islamic Studies. He has also translated Arabic books into the English Language some of which have become household names within the Muslim community such as Fortification of the Muslim through Remembrance and Supplication (Hisn al-Muslim). He currently serves as an Islamic studies lecturer and head of development both at MRDF.

2 comments

  1. Mohammad Abdul Qayyum

    Can u please send me a link or send me the other idhkaars with Subhan Allah as the bwginning. Jazaak Allah.

  2. JazaakAllaahu khairan for that. This will definitely improve the quality of my dhikr when saying this for the morning and evening inshaaAllaah. can we have more explanations for the other adhkaar please?

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