What is Takbeer?
To continue our meanings of the dhikr posts, we’ll analyze Takbeer which means to say: Allahu Akbar.
Allah ta’ala says in Suratul Israa ayah 111:
“and glorify Him with a great glorification”.
Both of these words in the ayah are from kaaf-ba-ra (ك-ب-ر) or kabar, which means to be great. كَبِّرْهُ Kabirhu means: Make Him great, declare His Greatness, Exalt Him, Magnify Him. How? تَكْبِيرًا ,takbeera, by saying Allahu Akbar. This is the highest and best way to Exalt Allah.
Furthermore, there is a deeper meaning to “Allahu Akbar”. It’s not just Allahu Akbar, it is : Allahu akbaru min kulli shay’in, Allah is greater than everything. When we say Allahu Akbar, we are implying this whole phrase although “min kulli shay’in”, “than everything” is omitted from the sentence.
When we start the prayer we say Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greater–He is Greater than EVERYTHING ELSE. So we put everything aside that’s in our mind, all of those things we are thinking of and say Allah is the greatest, more important than all these things, and this helps us focus and keep a good connection with Allah during prayer, and have more khushoo’ (humility). We say Allahu Akbar throughout the salaah to keep reminding us: Allah is Greater than everything else, so keep your attention to Him and His Remembrance.
The word Akbar is categorized as ‘ism tafdeel‘ in Arabic grammar, which means it is the comparative (greatER). So Akbar can mean greater or greatest. But when there is no “al”, meaning it is not “Al-Akbar”, it means GREATER. So when we hear the mu’adhhin say “Allahu Akbar”, the translation is not “Allah is the Greatest”, but it is reminding us: Allah is Greater, so go and pray to Him and stop what you are doing.
So when we say “Allahu Akbar”, it means: Allah is Greater, and He is Greater than everything else.
say Allahu Akbar.