This is about al-hamdu lillah [the phrase praising God].
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
We say All praise be to God for the following reasons:
- All creatures and creations praise and exalt Him, either verbally or in the languages of their lives and being, by manifesting His Attributes of Perfection. In their entirety and in the languages of their having a beginning and being contingent, and of their need, destitution, and purposes they serve, they praise His Majesty.
In the languages of their displayed artistry, orderliness, balance, firmness, and perfection, and in their acts of worship and glorification, they recite His Attributes of Majesty and affirm that He is God, the Necessarily Existent, Beginningless, Perpetual, Eternal, One and Single, Peerless, Eternally-Besought-of-All, All-Mighty, All-Compelling, Proud, and All-Overwhelming.
They praise Him with His Attributes of Beauty and Grace, saying that He is our Creator, All-Merciful, All-Compassionate, All-Providing, All-Munificent, All-Generous, All-Loving, All-Diffusing (of blessings), All-Gracious, All-Subtle, All-Favoring, and All-Beautiful.
They mention Him with His Attributes of Perfection, saying that He is Our Creator and Owner, All-Living, Self-Subsistent, All-Sustaining, All-Knowing, All-Wise, All-Powerful, All-Willing, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, All-Speaking, and All-Witnessing. They also recite His Beautiful Names manifested in the universe.46
- The universe praises, glorifies, and exalts Him by showing His Attribute of Perfection. With all its chapters, sections, pages, lines, sentences, and letters, and with the purposes it serves and the artistry and design it displays, this greatest book (the universe) is a whole in itself. Everything and everyone in it are mirrors reflecting the “lightning” of His Attribute of Majesty, the “flashes” of His Attributes of Grace and Beauty, the “gleams” of His Attribute of Perfection, the “rays” of His Beautiful Names.
- We praise Him for the existence, which is pure good, He bestows on us; for the blessing of life, by which existence is perfected; and for the blessing of belief, the essence of true life and by which life attains perfection.
- We praise Him for the light of belief that removes darkness and illuminates the outer world as well as our inner worlds. Belief is a source of light that consists of the six pillars, from which originate the Eternal Sovereign’s rays of knowledge.
- We praise Him for belief in God, for this delivers the spirit from the darkness of annihilation, the feeling of utter desolation in the universe, seeing all things in existence as singing dirges, and from innumerable other destructive sentiments.
- We praise Him for the light of belief, which shows us Refuge, Favor, Munificence, Love, Pity, and Compassion. Belief unveils eternal life, displays its brilliance, and brings us good tidings of eternal happiness. It offers us a support and source of help, teaches us on Whom we should rely and from Whom we should seek help, and lifts the veil of lamentation from the face of the mercy enveloping creation. Belief also removes the pains of separation from lawful pleasures by comparing the two worlds, and enables the continuation of favors and blessings by showing the everlasting tree of favors.
The light of belief shows the true nature of all things and states thought to be controversial, strange, dead, and fearful, and makes it clear that they are all friendly, familiar, living, and amicable. This light embraces all worlds and this realm and the next, which are replete with the gifts of Mercy for believers. Thus believers must say: “All praise be to God for whatever He has created,” and approve of and be satisfied only with Him as Lord and Master. They must set their hearts on Him as the only One worthy of worship and love, and the object or goal of life.
- We praise the Lord of the Worlds for His “mercy” for the worlds, which is our master Muhammad. Through him and his Messengership, the lights of the conception of Divinity, which had been extinguished under the thick veil of corrupted philosophies and religions, were rekindled and acquired stability and constancy. Through his Messengership, that which pleases the Lord of the Worlds became clear to humanity, and through him humanity has been guided to belief, which is the light of creation and existence.
- We praise God for the blessing of Islam, which contains whatever pleases the Lord of the Worlds. Islam shows us what pleases Him and what our Lord, the Lord of the worlds and the Lord of the heavens and Earth, wills and approves.
- We praise Him for the light of belief, which derives strength from In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Those who praise should turn their attention from the bounty to the act of giving bounties so that they may perceive that the Giver of bounties sees them, is nearer to them than they are to themselves, and makes Himself known through giving bounties and loved through favoring. When people become conscious of His seeking to make Himself known and loved, they feel compelled to be thankful to Him.
46 In one respect, God has two kinds of Attributes and Names: those of Majesty and those of Grace. The Names All-Overwhelming, All-Compelling, All-Powerful, and the like belong to the first group; the Names All-Generous, All-Merciful, All-Compassionate, All-Providing, and the like belong to the second. Such events as death, storms, and calamities are, ultimately, the results of the Names of Majesty’s manifestations, without excluding human free will in the events in which we are involved. Such events as life, instances of happiness, provision of living beings, and springtime are manifestations of the Names of Grace. (Tr.)