Al-ḥamdu lil-lāh (Arabic: ٱلْـحَـمْـدُ للهِ) or Alḥamdulillāh is an Arabic phrase meaning "praise be to God", sometimes translated as "thank God." This phrase is called ḥamdala (Arabic: حمدلة), and taḥmīd (Arabic: تَـحْـمِـيْـد, lit. 'Praising').
It is frequently used by Muslims of every background, due to its centrality to the texts of the Quran and Hadith—the words of the Islamic prophet Muhammad—and its meaning and in-depth explanation have been the subject of much exegesis. It is also commonly used by Arab Christians, and other non-Muslim speakers of the Arabic language.
The phrase has three basic parts:
- al-, the definite article, "the".
- ḥamdu, literally meaning "praise", "commendation".
- li-llāh(i), preposition + noun Allāh. Li- is a dative preposition.
The word Allāh (Arabic: ٱلله) means "The God", and it is a contraction of the definite article al- and the word ʾilāh (Arabic: إِلَـٰه, "god, deity"). Like in English, the article is used here to single out the noun as being the only one of its kind, "the God" (the one and only) or "God". Therefore, Allāh is the Arabic word for "God". ʾilāh is the Arabic cognate of the ancient Semitic name for God, El.
The phrase is first found in the first verse of the first sura of the Qur'an (Al-Fatiha). So frequently do Muslims and Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians invoke this phrase that the quadriliteral verb hamdala (Arabic: حَـمْـدَلَ), "to say al-ḥamdu li-llāh" was coined, and the derived noun ḥamdalah (Arabic: حَـمْـدَلَـة) is used as a name for this phrase. The triconsonantal root Ḥ-M-D (Arabic: ح م د), meaning "praise", can also be found in the names Muhammad, Mahmud, Hamid and Ahmad.
|Literal meaning||Praise to God|
English translations of alhamdulillah include:
Use in other historical sourcesEdit
Jabir ibn Abd-Allah wrote in a hadith that Muhammad, said: "The best remembrance of God is to repeat lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh and the best prayer (du'a) is al-ḥamdu li-llāh." (Narrated by Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Hakim who declared its chain 'sound'.) Abu Huraira wrote that Muhammad said: "Any matter of importance which is not begun with al-ḥamdu li-llāh remains defective." From Abu Dawood. Anas bin Malik wrote that Muhammad said: "God is pleased with his slave who says, al-ḥamdu li-llāh when he takes a morsel of food and drinks a draught of water."
- Wehr, H.; Cowan, J. M. (1979). A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (PDF) (4th ed.). Spoken Language Services.
- MacDonald, D.B. (2012). "Ḥamdala". In P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_2663.
- P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs, eds. (2012). "taḥmīd". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Glossary and Index of Terms (2nd ed.). Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei2glos_SIM_gi_04657.