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What “Allahu Akbar” Really Means

"Allahu akbar" is the first phrase said by Muslims during the call for prayer and the prayer itself; unfortunately, it has been tarnished by violence. PHOTO/ www.getreligion.org
“Allahu akbar” is the first phrase said by Muslims during the call for prayer and the prayer itself; unfortunately, it has been tarnished by violence. PHOTO/ www.getreligion.org

By Zainab Iqbal

Published: November 8th, 2017

If you are not a Muslim, or if you live under a rock, you may not have heard of the phrase “Allahu akbar.” Unfortunately, it is what some individuals have screamed before murdering innocent people. It is the phrase people mispronounce on live television. But it is also what I repeat constantly when I pray five times a day. It is what my grandfather whispers when he sits down on the sofa. It is an expression of thanks.  No, it does not mean “Muslims are terrorists.” Nor does it mean “Muslims are out to kill people.”  All it means is, “God is the greatest.”

“Allahu akbar” is the phrase my dad uses after he’s done eating and gets up from his seat. He says it after “Alhamdullilah,” meaning, “praise be to Allah.”

“Allahu abkar” is the phrase that comes out of someone’s mouth when they wake up and hear the birds chirping. It’s the phrase they say when they see a beautiful baby. It’s the phrase they say when they see a field of sunflowers, a petal left on a daisy, and the sun coming out after a long day of rain.

“Allahu akbar” is the phrase that comes out of someone’s mouth after they see something dirty. They’ll move their head left and right and whisper. It’s the phrase they say when they wake up sweating from a frightening dream. It’s the phrase they say when the sun doesn’t come out after a long day of rain.

“Allahu akbar” is the powerful phrase said in the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. Men, women, and children will be walking around, chattering amongst each other when the mu’adhin, the man who calls the prayer, will begin the Adhan. By hearing just the first phrase, “Allahu akbar,” men, women, and children will hurry to stand on their lines, feet touching each other, whispering the remaining words.

“Allahu akbar” is the phrase that automatically comes out of someone’s mouth when they see something beautiful, or when they see something blinding; it’s almost poetic. It means God did this; it means He is the one responsible for everything in the world. It simply means “God is the greatest.” That is all it means.

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