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al-hamd li' Llah | meaning and significance

The word for praise is al-hamd (praise to the Divine), and the attitude inherent in it constitute an essential aspect of being truly human. The Quran asserts in several verses that all things praise God, but the praise by men and women is of special significance because human beings have been given the possibility of not praising God and not being thankful to Him.

In Sufism hamd (praise of God) and the inner attitude associated with it are central. Followers of the Path are expected to be always grateful to God and to praise Him no matter what their circumstances.

A Sufi Story | One day a master and his disciples were sitting together. The master asked one of the disciples, "What are the conditions under which we should say al hamd li' Llah." The disciple replied, "Whenever one receives bounty or gift from God one should say al-hamd li' Llah."

The master responded, "What then is the difference between you and the dog sitting in front of us? If I throw him a piece of meat, he wags his tail in gratitude and praise. And when I do not do so, he simply sits there awaiting something from me."

The master added, "A darwish (an initiate in the sufi path of inner illumination) is a person who, if receives a gift or bounty from God, says 'al-hamd li' LLah' and if he receives nothing and is in greatest state of difficulty and need, he still says al-hamd li' LLah".

~

The attitude of praising God and being always grateful to Him, with the awareness that in ourselves we are poor and God is Rich from Whom all blessings flow - from the life we have to the air we breathe to the food we eat to the earth upon which we walk - is necessary for being truly human. It is a significant component of our humanity and is a basic way for us to realize who we are and to reach the state of perfect servanthood.

- from Seyyed Hossein Nasr's The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam's Mystical Tradition

Note: Al-hamd li' Llah, also written as al-hamdu-lillah is an arabic expression meaning Praise be to God or Thank God. The phrase has three basic parts:

* Al - The
* Hamd-u - Praise/Glorification/Thanks - untranslatable in it all shades of meaning
* li - preposition - for/to/belonging to
* Allah - (The God, God)

al-hamdu-lillah in its expression and meaning is exactly same to the Judeo-Christian expression of hebrew origin, Alleluia, Hallelujah or Halelu Yah.

+ good reads: The Eight Gates of Paradise and Al-Hamdu Lil-lah

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Technology of the Heart: al-hamd li' Llah | meaning and significance
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