Alhamdulillah – The Power Of Praise

* Original post taken from The Muslim Voice Tumblr *

Alhamdulillah. So simple and beautiful. We are taught to say it from a very early age. We are taught it means “Praise Be To Allah”. We are taught to say it during both good times and bad times. We are taught to say it after sneezing. We are taught to be grateful. We all know this.

And yet, how did we forget? How did it lose its meaning? It is no longer sincere. It has become an empty phrase we automatically utter when something good happens. We have forgotten. SO LET’S REMEMBER.

Let’s start with the basics. What does it mean? 

Linguistically, Hamd refers to a person’s good atribute, an attribute so good, it is the very best. It is perfect. Hamdu is the sincerest form of praise and comes from the heart. It is praise the the Mahmood (the person being praised) actually deserves. It implies gratitude, humility, love, respect, honour etc.

When we add Al in front of it, the meaning changes. The word is now Alhamdu. It is talking about every praise possible. Every single perfection deserving of praise. Everything. At all times. Eternally. Always.

When we add the li in front of a word, it means ‘for’. lillah is adding li to Allah and literally translates as ‘For Allah’. When we combine the two phrases, we get Alhamdulillah. All praise is entirely for Allah (SWT). He alone is worthy and deserving of Hamd.

So Powerful

Alhamdulillah, I see you’ve read this far. And you see what I did there. Good job. So now, we’ve successfully understood what the phrase says. But that’s just the literal translation of it. What does it truly mean to say Alhamdulillah?

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favour. But if you deny indeed, my punishment is severe.”
[Quran: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

Alhamdulillah is the perfect phrase for expressing our sincerest praise. It is a means to constantly remember Allah (SWT). It is a phrase which can be used anywhere, at any time. You wake up, Alhamdulillah. You are about to start eating, Alhamdulillah. You’re alive and well, Alhamdulillah. 

There are so many blessings, you could spend your entire life saying Alhamdulillah and it will never be enough. It is the sincerity and true gratitude that is important. It’s not just about saying the phrase. You need to mean it from the heart.

Alhamdulillah is a way of changing your character. It’s a life philosophy. Be grateful for what you have, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s good, Alhamdulillah. If it’s bad, realise that there are millions of ways in which it could be worse and then consider yourself lucky. Alhamdulillah.

Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

Allah is Pleased with His slave who says, ‘Alhumdulillah’ when he takes a morsel of food and drinks a draught of water.    [Sahih Muslim]

Alhamdulillah Is Itself Perfect

We have so much to be grateful for and this is the perfect phrase. It is a gift to mankind. It helps change your entire mindset and personality. It teaches us to be patient. Everything is a blessing in disguise.

Alhamdulillah, you’ve almost finished reading this now. Alhamdulillah is a beautiful phrase. It rolls off the tongue with such ease. It’s hard to say it without smiling. It’s the feel-good phrase. Be optimistic. Be happy. And above all, be grateful. Alhamdulillah Always.

I’ll end it with my own modified version of Neil Armstrong’s famous quote:

Alhamdulillah: One small phrase for a man. One giant blessing for mankind. 

– Zaeem Siddiqui

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Punctuation Speaks Louder Than Words

[Image courtesy of hanguppictures.com]

A couple of years ago, the full stop was just a full stop. It had a wife and kids and lived a happy life. It woke up every morning and it did its job with no complications. It simply indicated the end of a sentence. It separated distinct ideas and thoughts. No hidden meaning. No ambiguity. No emotion. Just a harmless, hard-working little dot.

Now, with texting and online chats, things have changed. The full stop decided it wanted more power. It still ends things, but now it does so in a more literal sense; the full stop is brutal in its finality. It can be inferred as being angry or rude.

The difference between “I’m fine” and “I’m fine.” is just a small little dot, but that dot subtly changes the idea. It’s not longer a casual indication of your well being. It adds a hidden meaning. It’s saying you’re not fine at all but don’t want to explicitly state it.

In terms of body language, I’d say it’s like folding your arms and frowning while conversing with someone, speaking in short abrupt sentences and not making eye contact.

Personally, I find that I don’t use the full stop very much in online chats/texts. I simply put separate sentences and independent thoughts/ideas on different lines. Even with text messages, I’d rather send 3 stand-alone texts than shove all 3 ideas into one complicated paragraph of text.

It maintains an organisational structure to my thoughts and other people find it a lot easier to comprehend what I’m going on about. Bitesize pieces of information are easier to digest than a mountain of text.

Also, it makes the chat seem friendlier and more welcoming, like an actual conversation and not just a collection of sentences.

Punctuation speaks louder than words.

What A Strange Morning

This morning was strange.

I go to drop my sister off at school, in my sleep-deprived, mentally-vacant state. I have bags under my bloodshot eyes and an absolutely atrocious headache. What makes it worse is that the stupid sun is trying to blind me at every chance it gets, forcing me to squint and frown whenever a ray of sunlight hits my face (which is every 7 seconds and yes, I keep track).

On top of all this, some little kid has the audacity to come up to me and tell me that my ‘costume’ is “so dope” but my dress-sense is “twisted” (not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult).

Then, as if talking to a 5 year-old, he’s kind enough to remind me that Halloween is “next week, brah”, and I need to “check up them dates on da calendar”. He says all this while gesticulating frantically, as if suffering from some sort of severe spasm attack.

As if that’s not enough, the prat starts guffawing at his own remark, presumably amazed (like I was) at his ability to put more than two words together to make a sentence. Then he turns around and promptly walks into a lampost.

Apparently embarrassed at “losing his swag”, he gets up, angrily shouts “Watch it, yo! Next time ain’t gon’ be this easy, aight?” at said lampost, and gives it a tremendous push. His push does absolutely nothing other than push himself further away from the lampost, so he gives up and just runs away.

I’m still confused.

Vocabulary Is A Beautiful Thing

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Am I the only one who gets properly excited when I learn a new word? I spend the next few days using it as much as possible in daily conversation and clishmaclaver.

And it’s incredible to think that just by using different combinations of the same 26 letters of the alphabet, you can create such a vast array of unbelievably fantastic words and phrases.

Phantasmagoria, for example. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

And I know that sesquipedalianism is often said to obfuscate pellucidity, but who cares? Brobdingnagian complicated words are spledierous and should seriously be used more often.

Vocabulary is such a beautiful thing and yet most of us just use the same old words, day in day out. In all seriousness, it’s intellectually stunting and quite frankly, rather boring.

It’s time to change that. Let’s be a bit more grandiloquent and verbose, shall we? Try it. It’s so much fun.

The Bells Of Saint John Review

We were promised that Doctor Who’s latest episode, The Bells of Saint John,  would be a no-holds-barred adrenaline-fuelled thrill ride and boy, did it deliver!” is what I really wanted to say after waiting 3 painstakingly long months for a new Doctor Who episode to come out. Unfortunately, while the episode was full of excellent spoilers and mysterious Easter Eggs (and the old theme tune is back!!), the story felt really rushed and left me feeling a teensy bit disappointed.

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