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July 3, 2004
Allah Listens To Those Who Praise Him

by Justoju

Bismillah hirrahman nirrahim

“Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the [wonders of] creation in the heavens and the earth, [With the thought]: 'Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created [all] this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.' (Quran- 3:191)"

“They said, 'Be You glorified! We have no knowledge, except that which You have taught us. You are the Omniscient, Most Wise.' (Quran- 2:32)"
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A couple of years ago a thought came to me while I was praying. I had just gotten up from ruku’ and was trying to focus on the meaning of what I was saying.

"Sami’al-laahu li man hamidah" -- "Allah (SWT) listens to those who praise Him”

And as if he had been waiting for that moment, Shaitan whispered into my heart “Wait a minute, that sounds a little egotistical doesn’t it? What could this mean? Is our Allah, like the Judaic Yahweh described in the Old Testament a jealous or egotistical god? Why does He care about our praise and what is His nature?"

I quickly thought "Astaghfirullah" and decided to hold this thought until I finished praying so that I could further explore it later without blaspheming myself clear out of prayer and rendering my salah invalid.

After my final tasleems, dhikr, and dua I returned to the thought. I decided to go through this systematically and try to figure out what the root problem was. After all, saying "astaghfirullah" every time you think of something bad is fine if you want to put a Band-Aid on the sore…but if you want it to go away for good you need to look to the core of the issue and clear your heart of any false assumptions.

*** WHY does the phrase "Allah (SWT) listens to those who praise Him. All praise is to Allah (SWT)" bother me? WHY does it bother me that Allah (SWT) is asking me to say this during prayer???

Well, it probably bothers me because I have made the mistake of humanizing Allah (SWT). When a human says something like that we assume that that person is arrogant and conceited and jealous. We do not inherently "like" to praise one another unless we want something.

***Why dont we like to praise one another?

Many reasons. Because, when we praise someone we are giving them a sort of power over us, we are giving them leverage. We are exposing our admiration for them TO them and thereby exposing our own insecurities, preferences, and weaknesses. We are innately insecure, yes, so we do not like for anyone to feel like they are better than us. We feel that by praising someone we are putting ourselves down. We HATE giving people ego-boosts. So that's probably why I am uncomfortable with the concept of asking for praise.

Now, let me think about how this relates to Allah (SWT) and His nature. First of all, I need to STOP humanizing Him. Unlike us, He does NOT have an ego! He is NOT prideful. He is NOT arrogant. He is not sitting on a bejeweled throne somewhere commanding us to kiss His feet so that he can feel good about Himself (excuse the anthropomorphic image). Thats a very human concept. Allah (SWT) is above all that, He is not dependant upon our praise, all of CREATION bows to His will and submits.

*** So WHY does he ask us to praise Him?

Well, to Him things are black and white. There is Truth and there is Falsehood. He knows which is which for He created those concepts to bring order to our universe and so that there could exist such a thing as a test. So for Him it's just a matter of facts--not praise. He IS the Most Merciful/Forgiving/Kind/Great/Beneficiant/Compassionate etc..It isn't praise, its Reality. When we pray to Him, He is merely asking us to acknowledge Reality. That's it. That's all our life is supposed to be about, searching, finding, accepting, and finally submitting our mind and soul to Reality. When we praise Him we are acknowledging Reality in a context of wonder and appreciation. We are escaping the box of duniya delusions.

Also, we must think about the praise itself. When we call Him the Most Merciful or Most Bountiful, what does that do? Well, our praise doesn't serve to cause any benefit or harm to Allah (SWT) so its purpose must be - like all of Allah (SWT)'s rules and laws - practical. We as human beings are insecure and aware of our mortality and helplessness. By identifying a Supreme Being as being all these wonderful amazing things, and then trusting Him with all your affairs and life, you are really bringing your own mind at ease. You are using that "image" of Allah (SWT) as a source of constant comfort. It serves to keep you sane and serves to be your constant. If we were to momentarily humor the athiest’s presumption and say that no such deity exists, then we would also have to admit that such a deity would need to be created for the sake of human progress. SubhanAllah.

*** Why does He say He listens to those who praise Him?

First of all, keep in mind that He isn't saying that He ONLY listens to those who praise Him. SubhanAllah, He is the sustainer of all of Creation and responds to the needs and cries of those who run away from Him as well as those who run towards Him. Either way, no matter whether one is running away from Him or towards Him, He is EVERYWHERE and is constantly taking care of us. SubhanAllah. So that's the first thing.

Secondly, to go back to the point about praise merely being the acceptance of the Reality: though He takes care of everyone, those who are a bit more attuned to His Nature and Reality might have an advantage in that their knowledge and acceptance of Reality helps them grow deeper in the bond they share with Him. We can NEVER fully comprehend Him, but we should at least try to comprehend as much as He has made it possible for us to comprehend. If we have reached the level at which the mind’s comprehension ends, then we must feed our souls the spiritual food they require and crave so that they can have a stronger understanding of their Lord. So basically, the more you comprehend, the deeper the bond. The deeper the bond, the closer the connection. The closer the connection, the more He listens to you.

"Allah (SWT) listens to those who praise Him. All praise is to Allah (SWT)" = "Allah (SWT) is closer to those who accept and submit to Reality. I submit and accept Reality and Allah (SWT)'s attributes"


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I seek forgiveness of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, for my presumptiveness and hypocrisy and seek His Refuge. All good is from Him.
All errors are a result of my own weaknesses.
My own stupidity.
My own insincerity.
My own arrogance.
My own nafs.

Astaghfirul lahal adheema lladhee la ilaha illa huwa al-Hayyal Qayooma wa atubo ilayh

Allahumma innaka Afoowun Kareemun tuhibul afwa fa’foanni ya Ghaffur.”


of and relating to...
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

Mashallah


WaS salaam

on July 4, 2004 6:10 AM
Faisal Akhtar (sick of spam) said

JazakAllah Khair Sister for the article.

I just wanted to say I am sick and tired of all the spam on this website, we have to do something about this. Who did Talal leave incharge? Whoever it is really needs to do a better job of maintaining this website.

on July 5, 2004 1:04 PM
Nadia said

Assalam u alaikum,
Mashallah, the article is excellent. I have to admit that though I had a slight idea about the meaning of ""Sami’al-laahu li man hamidah" but I did not contemplate about it before. This article really opened my eyes Alhamdulillah.

And Br.Faisal, actually I am one of the supervisors but personally, every morning arnd 7 or 8:00 am, I delete one of these scams. Over the past week, I must have done it around 7 times or more. I don't know if it is a fixed IP and can be banned but if the person uses different IDs, then it is not the inefficiency of the incharges but the relentlessness of that person who is quite eager to earn some good deeds in the Hereafter for himself or herself and is doing a great job at it. May Allah(swt) give all of us Hidaya and lead us on Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem. Ameen.

PS. I will try to look into whether the IP can be permanently banned or not. Jazakallah khair

on July 5, 2004 7:42 PM
Gillette aka HK said

In the meantime, Faisal and the other (3 or 4) readers of hidaya, take advantage of the great opportunities in debt and loan consolidation here at hidaya.

(i'm joking)

on July 6, 2004 12:02 AM
Justoju said

Thank you everyone for your relevant comments. Lets talk about the price of gasoline now.

on July 6, 2004 3:05 AM
Justoju said

(I am joking too)

Considering the sudden summer mass disappearance of our millions of readers, I am grateful that I got ANY comments.

on July 6, 2004 1:52 PM
passerby said

My grandfather once said (something along these lines) that the way of the world is if you want someone to do something for you, you have to start with praising 'em (kissing up to 'em). He then smiled and added "even with Allah, just think of how you begin your duas".

This isn't to draw a similarity between the nature of man, and that of Allah. No doubt we don't come close to the giving nature of Allah, but it's still something that stuck with me. I just thought I'd share after reading this article.

on July 6, 2004 5:53 PM
passerby said

"who did Talal leave incharge?"

Where is Talal?

on July 6, 2004 5:53 PM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

salaam alaikum,

Jumu'ah Mubarak to all of you. As always, MashaAllah Justoju another great article. It really makes us think why DO we praise Allah, IF we praise Him at all? Honestly, I think that our lives would be much more peaceful if we did start praising the One Who has put us here on this Earth even a little more. Maybe we have, anthropomorphized Allah, Astaghfirullah. Maybe we can't praise Him, for the same reasons we find it hard to praise human beings. I don't know, these are just questions. You learn to praise Him though when He tests you in some way and you realize that truly 'La haula wa la quwwata illaa billah'. HE is in charge of EVERYTHING and He can take us away WHENEVER He pleases, so the least we can do is to pray to Him and HOW do we start praying to Him? - by praising Allah, Almighty - Your Lord and mine.

Wassalaam
Arif
wa billahi taufeeq

on July 9, 2004 6:27 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

I just wanted to add something.

Did you notice how we were instructed say "Allah hears those who praise him" and then say "Our lord, surely to you is all the praise" directly before Sajda, when we do all our asking.

I have to remind myself alot of times not to just say the words "Our lord, surely to you is all the praise" without wholeheartedly having the understanding of what I am saying, aka concentrating on the words rather than just saying it repetitiously.

I think it is close to what passerby said:

"My grandfather once said (something along these lines) that the way of the world is if you want someone to do something for you, you have to start with praising 'em (kissing up to 'em). He then smiled and added "even with Allah, just think of how you begin your duas"."

Insha Allah, may we all make our Salat better and truly feel the value of the words that Allah has taught us to say to Him.

I really regret all the prayes gone by in the thought of other things; and like my sensei said to me once "Don't let your prayer become ritual". It was one of the first things said to him after becoming a Muslim. Truly, May Allah help us to worship him properly and concentrate on our Salat.

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

P.S. There is a good article on how to improve your salat here:

http://khutbah.com/index.php?type=5&id=643&language=8

In it is this Hadith which really should get many of our minds thinking and our hearts softening insha Allah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted has said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My slave, into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.” When the slave says ‘Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has praised Me.’ When the slave says, ‘The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has extolled me.’ When the slave says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgement,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has glorified me.’ When the slave says, ‘It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,’ Allaah says, ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’ When the slave says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray,’ Allaah says, ‘All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’” (Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Salaah, Baab wujoob qiraa’at al-Faatihah fi kulli rak’ah). [Words in italics are the translation of the meaning of Soorat al-Faatihah – Translator].

on December 28, 2004 2:48 AM
Justoju said

Once in a while, when I need clarity, I go back and read things that I wrote during times of reflection. I just read this and realized how much I long for those days when I actually had time to reflect.

on December 13, 2008 4:03 PM
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