Bismillah walhamdolilah was-salatu was-salam ‘ala Rasool Allah sallalahu alayhi wasalam

Continuing in our discussion of the oft-repeated words and phrases in our salat, this week inshallah we will focus on looking at: SubhanAllah

This is another word that is very common in the Muslim’s vocabulary. We all have heard the word, we all say it in our prayers daily (inshallah), yet how many of us truly understand its meaning?

Commonly this word is translated as, “Glory be to Allah” or “All Glory is to Allah”. I’m not going to say these definitions are wrong but I do think there is a lot depth associated with saying SubhanAllah which is not captured in the above translations. A better translation or meaning of the word would be, “far above is Allah from that which they associate to Him”

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

And (remember) when Luqman said unto his son, when he was exhorting him: O my dear son! Ascribe no partners unto Allah. Lo! to ascribe partners (unto Him) is a tremendous wrong [31:13]

And so the greatest transgression, the great act of disbelief, the greatest act of disrespect, the greatest of all sins, the most disgusting of all acts one could do is to associate partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

And so saying SubhanAllah implies the following:

  • All Glory is due to Allah
  • Allah is the One who is far above the partners people associate with Him
  • This phrase is a negation of shirk (associating partners with Allah; to learn more click here)
  • It encompasses the greatest act of goodness (negating any partners to Allah)
  • The negation of shirk leads you to affirm His Oneness (tawheed; to learn more click here)
  • Forgiveness for our sins

Allah said: “…O son of Adam! If you bring forth the earth full of errors, then you meet Me while you do not associate anything (or anyone) with Me, I will bring forth for you its full of forgiveness.” [At-Tirmidhee (Shaikh Albanee rendered it as Hasan)]

Allah’s Apostle sallalahu alayhi wasalam said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.” [Sahih Bukhari]

How is it that just by saying a simple phrase like SubhanAllahi wa bihamdi we can have all our sins forgiven? Because in it is a negation of shirk (the worst of all acts), which leads to the affirmation of pure tawheed (the greatest of all acts).

My dearest brothers and sisters, next time you’re in sajood and you say Subhana Rabbi al-‘ala or Subhana Rabbi al-adzeem let yourself ponder about its meanings…let yourself taste the sweetness of salat by pondering over that which you say and recite.

May Allah make us amongst those who establish our prayers with full submissiveness and concentration.