The meaning of ‘Subhaanallah’ is cleanliness, purity and immaculateness of Allaah Ta’alah in His oneness, greatness, power and capacity. This meaning also extends to the perfectness of His knowledge of the unseen, His flawlessness…etc. He has no partners and associates.
The cleanliness of each thing lies within the context of that thing itself. For example, the cleanliness, tidiness and purification of a person are his wudhu, ghusl, tayyamum…etc.
Therefore the cleanliness, purity and immaculacy of Allaah (Subhaanallah) mean that Allaah Ta’alah is pure and free from any partnership with anyone. He has no associates in his Power, in his capacity to hear, to know. He does not need any idols, statues, peers, awliyas, prophets and angels as associates in whatever He does.
Allaah Ta’alah is pure is His attributes and free from partners that people have fabricated to associate with Him.
Some Quranic verses and their explanations
- 1) Fa subhanallaahi am maa yasifoun
- 2) Subhanallaahi am maa yushrikoune
- 3) Subhaanahu wa Ta’alaah am maa yushrikoune
Interpretation of these verses are as explained above that Allaah Ta’alah is pure and free from anything or anyone that people associate with Him. He is independent in His Power and all His attributes.
A lot of people think that doing good deeds and accomplishing all the main pillars of Islam such as reading ‘swalaats’, performing ‘hajj’, giving ‘zakaat’ and performing other prayers like ‘zikr’ and so on are so important that they take them as more important than knowing the subject of ‘Tawheed’. They trust 100% that these good deeds and acts of worship and prayers will guarantee their success in front of Allaah.
They have never found it important to learn the subject ‘Tawheed’ or the ‘The subject of Tawheed’. However, it must be correctly known that if our ‘imaan’ is not good, then none of our good deeds will be accepted.
If a person does a lot of good deeds, prays a lot (like reading ‘tahajjud’ swalaat, making ‘zikr’, fast , performs hajj and gives ‘zakaat’), but that his ‘imaan’ (conviction) is not right and that he commits ‘shirk’, then Allaah Ta’alah will never accept any of his good deeds. Not only that, but he will be admitted to an eternal term in the Fire of Hell.
What is ‘imaan’ (conviction)?
Allaah Ta’alah is full of justice and mercy. He created us and thus wants to know Him and worship Him alone. He has never left us without any guidance – so even that of Him is a blessing and a favour to us. Allaah Ta’alah The Most High has sent many messengers and prophets to us to transmit only one Message to us, that is, ‘mankind must submit to the Will of Allaah only and worship Him alone.’
Imaan is about a person being conscious and aware of the reality of Allaah Ta’alah. This consciousness or awareness or discovery of the reality of Allaah is not a simple thing. This is about being conscious or aware that Allaah Ta’alah is All-Powerful, All-Knowledgeable in this whole Universe and beyond. It is about being conscious that He (Allaah Ta’alah) will reward or punish each person according his good or bad deeds.
This sense of discovery or awareness or consciousness is the driving force of a person’s ‘within’, because once a person comes to realise this, he becomes different, his inside is shaken and Allaah Ta’alah becomes the centre of his existence in everything in his life.
A Muslim believer has the firm conviction in everything that Allaah Ta’alah has revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam).
A most in-depth meaning of ‘Laa ilaha illal laah Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah
The Quraish and those nations who came before them (that did not believe in the messengers and prophets that Allaah sent to them) were believers in Allaah Ta’alah with the conviction that He (Allaah Ta’alah) is God of this world and the Universe. But despite this conviction they did not believe that He (Allaah Ta’alah) was the only one that was worthy of worship.
And when the holy Qur’an and the Sunnah show the following,
- 1) Tawheed Rububiyyah (Lordship – Unity or Oneness of Lordship)
- 2) Tawheed Uluhiyyah (Divinity – that He alone is worthy of worship)
So, the disbelievers used to make difference between Lordship and Worship of Allaah Ta’alah. So, they accepted His Lordship (Tawheed Rububiyyah – The Oneness or Monotheism of Allaah as the only God). An example of this is seen in the following Quranic verse:
But they did not believe in the Tawheed of Uluhiyya (Oneness of worship of Allaah). This can be seen in the following Quranic verses:
So they worship other things and deities even though they testified and accepted that Allaah is the only Creator who creates and provides. What they have done is that they associated partners with Allaah Ta’alah.
So, prophets have been sent to call them to believe in Tawheed Uluhiyya (Oneness of worship of Allaah).
They denied the prophets and denied the Tawheed Uluhiyya (Oneness of worship of Allaah).
But they did not deny the prophets when it came to the Tawheed Rububiyyah (Oneness of the Lordship of Allaah).
- 1) The objective here is to show that the (disbelievers) believed in Allaah as God, that He created this universe and that he runs it. They have never rejected this truth. They rejected the prophets but never rejected Tawheed Rububiyyah (Oneness of the Lordship of Allaah). So, when they were asked who created this world, they replied it was Allaah.
- 2) But when they were called to believe in ‘laa ilaha illal laah’, that is, only Allaah is the One who is worthy of worship, they became arrogant and rejected it. They believed in other deities and sought help from them.
Conditions for the one who recites the Islamic Kalimah (Creed) to receive its benefits (rewards)
The condition of ‘imaan’ (conviction) is that we must accept the ‘Kalimah’ (creed) and submit to it. If a person believes in the ‘Kalimah’ ‘laa ilaha illal laah’ but does not submit to its demand, then he has no ‘imaan’ (conviction). The ‘Quraish’ (inhabitants of Makkah) believed in the existence of Allaah and accepted that He is the Creator of this universe. But they did not submit to the commandments of Allaah and did not worship Him alone.
Conditions for the one who recites the Islamic Kalimah (Creed) to receive its benefits (rewards)
- 1) Ilm (Knowledge) of this ‘Kalimah’
What are the things that are rejected by this ‘Kalimah’ and what are the things that are affirmed by it?
If a person recites this ‘Kalimah’ without knowing what it means and does not submit to its commandments (or conditions) he will not benefit anything from it. This is because he has not believed in what the ‘Kalimah’ asks of him. It is like a person who speaks a language that he does not understand (of course he is not going to benefit from it in that case).
- 2) Certainty (yakeen) or Conviction is to believe completely in this ‘Kalimah’ without any doubts or disbeliefs.
- 3) Sincerity (Iklaas) means that this person worships Allaah alone. This is the opposite of ‘shirk’.
- 4) The Truth (as-sidq) prevents hypocrisy (munafiqat). The hypocrites have read the ‘Kalimah’ with their tongue only but in their heart they have denied it.
- 5) Love (al-muhabbah) for this ‘Kalimah’ and the desire to do everything that it asks. This is in opposition to the hypocrites.
- 6) Total submission (al-inqiyaad): accomplish his rights – obligatory deeds by being sincere with Allaah and seeking His pleasure only.
- 7) Accept (al-qabool): he accepts to accomplish whatever Allaah has ordained and abandons everything that Allaah has forbidden.
The most affirmative negative form
‘Kalimah tayyibah’ begins with the negative form: [i.e. there is no ‘ilah’ (gods or deities) who are worthy of worship. Then there is the ‘affirmative’ form [i.e. except Allaah.]
Allaah Ta’alah has used this style (i.e. stressing on the negative message first) to emphasize the gravity or seriousness of the big sin (the big sin of associating partners with Allaah). But at the same He is also showing us His great Love and infinite Mercy that He has for mankind. Allaah has warned mankind first about the greatest danger and enemy that can ruin and destroy them.
There are two phrases in this ‘Kalimah’: the first one is ‘Tawheed – la ilaha illal la) and the second one is ‘Risalat – Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah’. When a person believes both of these, that is, Tawheed and Risalat, then the ‘nur’ (light) of ‘imaan’ descends upon his heart.
In this ‘Kalimah’ Allaah Ta’alah has put the name of Muhammad (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) just after His own name. Allaah Ta’alah has done this to show the honour and importance that He has given to His beloved Prophet Muhammad (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam).
If a person believes in the first part of this ‘Kalimah’ but does not believe in the second part of it, that is, he does not believe in and accept the prophet Muhammad (sal lal laahu alaihi was sal lam), then this person is not a Muslim believer.
To save ourselves from the fire of hell we must have ‘imaan’ (conviction) and conviction means that we must believe in ‘Tawheed’ and ‘Risalat’ together as Allaah has mentioned in the following verse of the holy Qur’an:
The place of Kalimah ‘laa ilaha illal laa’ in the life of a Muslim
Without any doubt there are no greater words that are more important than the ‘Kalimah’ “laa ilaha illal laah.” These words are a declaration of one’s conviction (imaan) in the Tawheed (Oneness) of Allaah. All Messengers of Allaah Ta’alah have called people to accept this declaration.
A Muslim recites it every single in his life in the following:
- 1) Azaan (Call to prayer)
- 2) In beginning one’s ‘swalaat’.
- 3) In Tashahhud
- 4) In ‘zikr’ morning and night
- 5) It is this ‘Kalimah’ that Allaah Ta’alah has given to all His prophets that He has sent to mankind.
- 6) The first question that will be asked in the tomb will be about that ‘Kalimah’.
- 7) On the Day of Judgment question will be asked about this ‘Kalimah’ together with questions about its obligations.
- 8) It is the key of Paradise (Janna)
- 9) Every Muslim has been ordained to call others to this ‘Kalimah’.
The Excellence of ‘Kalimah laa ilaha illal laa’
- 1) Abu Huraira (radhi Allaahu anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said: ‘Imaan has more than 70 branches; the most superior of these is ‘la ilaha illal laah’ and the lowest is to remove stones, branches, thorns, sticks or harm from the street. ‘Haya’ is a branch of ‘imaan’.
- 2) Abu Huraira (radhi Allaahu anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said: ‘When a servant of Allaah sincerely recites the words ‘la ilah laa ha illal laah’, the doors of the skies open until these words reach the ‘Arsh’ (Throne of Allaah) but only on condition that this servant abstains from major sins.’ (Tirmidhi)
- 3) Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said that the best ‘zikr’ is ‘laa ilaha illal laah’ (Tirmidhi)
- 4) Abu Sa’eed al-Kudri (radhi Allaahu anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said: ‘Musa (alaihi salaam) said: ‘O Allaah, teach me something that will enable me to remember You and supplicate You. Allaah Ta’alah said to him: ‘Oh Musa, recite ‘laa ilaha illal laah’. And Musa (alaihi salaam) said: ‘All your servants say this.’
- 5) Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said: ‘Whoever sincerely says that there is no god but Allaah, will enter ‘jannah’ (paradise). – [Tibrani]
- 6) Allaah’s Messenger (sal lal laahu alaihi wa sal lam) said: ‘On the Day of Judgment, a person will be called to account in the presence of all other creatures. He will be presented with 99 books of his recorded actions that will be opened out to him. The size of this book will extend (or stretch) as far as the eye could see. And that person will be asked, is there any action recorded in this book that he does not accept to which he will reply: ‘No my Rabb (Lord)’ – meaning that he will accept everything in it.
He will be asked if he has any excuses to which he will answer: ‘no’.
He will be told that there is a good deed for him in it. And that today no injustice will be done to him.
A paper (or page) will be removed and shown to him in which it will be written: ‘Ash-hadu al laa ilaha illal laah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadoor-Rasoulloul laah.’
This person will say, ‘Oh Allaah, what is this paper and what is written in it? He will be told: ‘Today there will be no injustice on you. Then his 99 books deeds will be placed in one pan of the scale and that paper will be placed in the other pan. That paper will outweigh all the other 99 books of his deeds. (Tirmidhi)
- 7) ‘Allaah Ta’alah has made hell a forbidden place for whoever recites ‘laa ilaha illal laah’ with sincerity in seeking Allaah’s pleasure.’ (Bukhari and Ahmad)
The Mouth and the Heart
Belief in the Tawheed (Oneness) of Allaah means accepting that there is no other creator except Allaah and that Allaah is The Supreme Master.
However, if a person accepts this fact but at the same time he persists in associating partners with Allaah in his worship, he is then a ‘mushrik’ (he commits ‘shirk’) irrespective of his reciting this ‘Kalimah’ every day.
‘Tawheed’ necessitates total love for Allaah Ta’alah only; it entails submission, humility, obedience and absolute sincerity in the worship (ibaadah) of Allaah only. All words said, all actions done, abstaining from anything bad, love and hate – all should be for the cause of Allaah Ta’alah. It means to single out Allaah in everything in one’s life.
The benefit of Kalimah
- 1) It’s reward is ‘Jannah – Paradise)
- 2) Whoever recites before his death will be admitted into ‘Jannah’ (Paradise)
- 3) It is a refuge from the Hell Fire
- 4) It is a means for a Muslim believer’s forgiveness
- 5) It is better than any good deed
- 6) It wipes out all sins
- 7) It transcends all barriers to be accepted by Allaah Ta’alah
- 8) It is such a word that when recited is accepted by Allaah Ta’alah
- 9) It is the best word proclaimed by all the prophets of Allaah.
- 10) It is the best ‘words’ to glorify and celebrate the praises of Allaah Ta’alah.
- 11) It is the best deed (or best action of a person)
- 12) It is a shield (protection) from Satan
- 13) Whoever has recited it sincerely will be taken out of hell after having been punished for his sins
- 14) It will be an identity of a Muslim when he will be resurrected from his tomb on the Day of Judgment
The Special effect of Imaan
- 1) It frees mankind from the worship of others besides Allaah, Allaah who has created all creation and has dominion over all. It frees one’s intelligence from deviation and perdition.
- 2) It frees people from submitting to other false gods except Allaah The One true God
- 3) It brings peace, serenity and tranquillity within one’s heart and being.
- 4) ‘Imaan’ is a source of security of the soul because it fills it with peace and satisfaction. A person with ‘imaan’ fears no one but Allaah Ta’alah. He has no fear of losing his wealth, provisions, family and does not fear creation.
- 5) It makes the heart feel strongly secure about itself.
- 6) It is the source to the strength of a person’s soul as it gives him a strong and wonderful mental attitude. It fills the soul with the hope, trust and joy in Allaah Ta’alah. It gives a person more patience in his trials and tribulations.
- 7) ‘Imaan’ is the foundation of fraternity and equality.
- 8) Allaah Ta’alah has kept aside ‘Jannah’ (paradise) and all His favours, peace and tranquillity for the one who has ‘imaan’ – Allaah will be pleased with him.