Praise – from Ibn Juzayy’s Tafseer

Hamd (praise) is more general and inclusive than shukr (thanks or gratitude), because thanks and gratitude are only a recompense for a favour, whereas hamd is both a recompense like thanks and is also spontaneous praise.

Similarly, shukr may be more general and inclusive than hamd, because praise is expressed by the tongue, and thanks is expressed by tongue, heart and limbs.

If you understand the universal nature of hamd you will know that your saying “al-hamdu lillah” requires praise of Him for His majesty, vastness, unity, might, bestowal of favours, knowledge, ability and power, wisdom and other attributes, and that it encompasses the meanings of His ninety-nine beautiful names, and that it requires thanking Him and praising Him for every favour He has given and mercy He has bestowed upon all His creation in this world and the next. What a word [it is] which gathers together that which volumes find difficult to express, and the intellects of created beings concur upon as being unable to enumerate! Let it suffice you that Allah made it the beginning of His Book and the conclusion of the supplication of the people of the Garden.1

Thanks with the tongue is praise of the Bestower of Blessings and speaking about the blessings. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “To talk about blessings is gratitude.”2

Thanks expressed by the limbs means to act in obedience to Allah and to abandon disobedience to Him. Thanks with the heart is recognition of the magnitude of the blessing and the knowledge that it is a gracious bestowal and not from the slave’s own merit.

Know that the blessings which require gratitude cannot be enumerated, but they can be expressed in terms of three categories:

  • worldly blessings such as health and wealth;
  • blessings of the deen such as knowledge and fear of Allah (taqwa);
  • and other-wordly blessings, which are one’s being recompensed with much reward for few actions in a short life.

People have two ranks with respect to gratitude:

  • there is the one who shows gratitude for the blessings which come to him particularly;
  • and there is the one who thanks Allah on behalf of all His creatures for the blessings which reach all of them.

There are three degrees of gratitude:

  • the degree of the ordinary people is gratitude for blessings;
  • the degree of the elect is gratitude for blessings and for misfortune, and in every state;
  • and the degree of the elect of the elect is that they are absent from blessing through witnessing the Bestower of blessings. A man said to Ibrahim ibn Adham,3 “Who are the best of men?” He reflected and said, “The poor who when they are refused, are grateful, and when they are given something they prefer others to themselves.”

One of the virtues of gratitude is that it is both one of the attributes of The Truth4 [as well as] an attribute of people, because one of the names of Allah is ash-Shakir (the Recompenser, literally: the Grateful) and ash-Shakour (the Fully Grateful), both of which I have explained in the dictionary of terms (ash-Shakour is the name of Allah, “the One Who Recompenses His slaves for their actions with plentiful reward”. It has also been said [that it means] “The One Who Praises the slaves”).

Our saying, “Praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the worlds”, is better, according to the people who ascertain [statements], than “There is no god but Allah” for two reasons:

  • one is that which an-Nasa’i narrated of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Whoever says, ‘There is no god but Allah’ then twenty virtues will be recorded for him, and whoever says, ‘Praise belongs to Allah Lord of the worlds’, has thirty virtues recorded for him”;
  • the second is that the tawhid that “There is no god but Allah” requires is [already] present in your saying, “Lord of the worlds” and is increased [over and above that] with your saying, “Praise belongs to Allah” and there [also] are the meanings in it which we have already presented.

As for the saying of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “The best that I have said, I and the prophets before me, is ‘There is no god but Allah’,”5 then that is only because of the tawhid which it contains, and “Praise belongs to Allah Lord of the worlds” participates along with it in that [meaning] and has increase beyond that. The believer says it seeking reward, but as for the one who enters Islam then he is required to say, “There is no god but Allah.”


1 This refers to the supplication that the believers will make in the Garden, “Their prayer in it will be ‘Glory be to You, O Allah,’ and peace will be their greeting therein, and their prayer will conclude, ‘Praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.'”
(Surah Yunus, ayah 10).

2 Part of a narration related by ash-Sha’bi on the authority of an-Nu’man ibn Bashir that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “He who is not grateful for a little cannot be grateful for a lot, and he who is not grateful to people cannot be grateful to Allah [whereas] to talk about blessings is gratitude, and leaving it is ingratitude (kufr). The community (jama’ah) [leads to] mercy, and dissension [leads to] debasement.” (Quoted by al-Qurtubi in his Jami’ Ahkam al-Qur’an Tafsir ‘ala Surah Wa’d-Duha.

3 Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Adham. He was at one point the Amir of the region of Balkh in central Asia, but he turned to Allah and abandoned everything he possessed. Imam al-Junayd said of him, “Ibrahim is the key to the sciences” and he is held in great respect, by all who have knowledge, for his exemplary life and his incisive wisdom with respect to the states of man. He associated with Sufyan ath-Thauri.

4 Al-Haqq – “The True, the Real” is one of the names of Allah.

5 Related in the Jami’ of at-Tirmidhi, in the Kitab ad-Da’awat.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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