THE TOP FOUR
The best dhikr is the Qur’aan. After that the best speech and the most excellent remembrance after that are four statements. They have an exceptional value, they consist of a great matter and have a high status in the Deen of Allaah, and they are: SubhaanAllaah (Tasbeeh), al hamdulillaah (Tahmeed), laa illaaha illAllaah (Tahleel), Allaahu Akbar (Takbir) which are also from the Qur’aan.
Tasbeeh and Hamd go together (salah, hadeeth, Qur’aan)
Tahleel and Takbeer go together (adhaan, on Mounts Safaa and Marwa, Battles, on high place etc.)
Tahleel is best out of the four phrases because of what it contains of tawheed, difference between people of paradise and Hell; no-one’s Islaam is correct without it; say it before a person dies he will enter paradise; highest branch of faith. Best good deed. Tahleel is the foundation (asl) and tasbeeh and hamd are branches from tahleel. We will InShaAllah study about the Adhkaar related to Tawheed and Kalimah in the coming chapter.
All of Allaah’s Names are included in these four phrases:
There are many texts, which show the excellence of these four statements that emphasize this great matter, and the value of these statements and the resulting great reward when establishing them and their noble excellence and their continuous benefits in the Dunyaaand the Hereafter. We will attempt to present some of the excellence of these statements from some of the texts, which mention these benefits.
THE MOST BELOVED
The Prophet ﷺ said,
The great ahadeeth show the great excellence of the one who has a long life and his actions are good, and his tongue continues to be moist with the Dhikr of Allaah – Azza wa Jal, and success is from Allaah Alone.
ACT OF CHARITY
The Prophet ﷺ said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of everyone of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha illAllah) is an act of charity; and enjoining M’aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two Rak’ah Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” [Muslim].
Abu Hurairah narrated: The poor Emigrants came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and said: “The wealthy have gone with the highest ranks and lasting bliss.”
He ﷺ asked: “How is that?“
They replied: “They offer Salat (prayer) as we offer it; they observe fast as we do; (and as they are wealthy) they perform Hajj and ‘Umrah, and go for Jihad, and they spend in charity but we cannot, and they free the slaves but we are unable to do so.”
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Shall I not teach you something with which you may overtake those who surpassed you and with which you will surpass those who will come after you? None will excel you unless he who does which you do.” They said: “Yes, please do, O Messenger of Allah”
He ﷺ said, “You should recite: Tasbih (Allah is free from imperfection), Takbir (Allah is Greatest), Tahmid (Praise be to Allah) thirty-three times after each Salat.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
FILLS THE SCALES WITH GREAT REWARDS
The Prophet ﷺ said,
Reflect upon this great reward, which is a result of these words. So whoever says Subhana Allaah hundred times then it is the equivalent to freeing a hundred slaves from the sons of Isma’eel, the offspring of Isma’eel was mentioned specifically because they are the noblest of the Arabs in lineage. Whoever says Alhamdulillaah a hundred times then he will have the reward as the one who gave charity of one hundred horses saddled and reined ready to carry the Mujahideen in the path of Allaah. Whoever says Allaahu Akbar a hundred times then he will have the reward as the one who spends camels slaughtered for the sake of Allaah. Whoever said laa illaah ila Allaah a hundred times then it fills what is between the heavens and the earth and no one’s action is raised except if one comes with what was mentioned.
PLANT TREES IN PARADISE
The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘I met the Prophet Ibrahim on the night when I was taken on the night journey, and Ibrahim said:
O Muhammad convey my Salam to your Ummah, and inform them that Paradise has very fine soil, sweet water. That it has lowland and its plants are:
‘Subhana Allaahi, wal hamdu lillaahi, wa la illaah ila Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar’’ (Tirmidhi)
The meaning is that plants in Paradise grow quickly due to these statements, just like the plants that are planted on lowland and the growth of its plants is fast.
SINS ARE FORGIVEN
The Prophet ﷺ said,
Also Anas bin Malik narrated that:the Prophet ﷺ passed by a tree with dry leaves, so he struck it with his staff, making the leaves fall. Then he ﷺ said: “Indeed, ‘all praise is due to Allah, (Al-Ḥamdulillāhh)’ ‘glory to Allah, (Subḥān Allāh)’ ‘none has the right to be worshipped by Allah, (Lā Ilāha Illallāh)’ and ‘Allah is the greatest (Allāhu Akbar)’ cause the sins to fall from the worshipper, just as the leaves of this tree fall.” (Tirmidhi)
As for the meaning ‘expiation of sins’ here it means minor sins.
“Umm Sulaim came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, teach me some words that I may supplicate with during my prayer.’ He ﷺ said: ‘Glorify Allah (by saying SubhanAllah) ten times, and praise Him (by saying Alhamdulilah) ten times, and magnify Him (by saying Allahu Akbar) ten times, then ask Him for what you need; He will say: ‘Yes, yes.‘ (An Nisa’ai)
NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “There are some words, the reciters of which will never be disappointed. These are: Tasbih [saying ‘Subhan-Allah’ (Allah is free from imperfection)], thirty-three times, Tahmid [saying ‘Al-hamdu lillah’ (praise be to Allah)] thirty-three times and Takbir [saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is Greatest)] thirty-four times; and these should be recited after the conclusion of every prescribed prayer.” [Muslim]
The Fifth – Al Hawqalah
Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah
The Four Phrases (SubhaanAllaah, alhamdulillaah, laa illaaha illAllaah, Allaahu akbar) and the hawqalah (la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah) together encompass tawheed (worshipping Allaah alone) and qadr (PreDecree).
Ibn Abee Awfaa said, a man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “I cannot learn the Qur’aan, so teach me something that will suffice me. He said, “SubhaanAllaah, wal hamdulillaah, wa laa illaaha illAllaah, wAllaahu akbar, wa la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah…” (Aboo Daawood 832; Nisaa’ee 2/143; Daarqutnee 1/313-314).
Also the Prophet ﷺ said,
A servant does not control any of his affairs. He does not have the means to repel harm or the ability to attain goodness except by Allaah’s Will. A servant cannot change disobedience to obedience, sickness to health, weakness to strength, deficiency to perfection except by Allaah’s Help. He does not have the ability to take care of his affairs or realize any of his goals except by Allaah’s help. What Allaah Wills will happen and what He does not Will will not happen. The affairs of creation are tied to His Decree and Pre-Destination.
La hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah is a weighty phrase which means being sincere to Allaah alone in asking for help. Just as the phrase of tawheed: Laa ilaaha illAllaah means being sincere to Allaah in worship.
In Soorah al Faatihah: “iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een” You alone we worship (This phrase is tawheed al ibaadah. Distancing oneself from shirk) and You alone we ask for help (sincerely asking Allaah alone and referring all power and might to Allaah). Worship is the goal which is connected to Allaah’s Worship (Uloohiyyah) and asking for help is the means which is connected to Allaah’s Lordship (Ruboobiyyah).
Ibn Taymiyyah mentions in Istiqaamah (2/81) that many people wrongly use la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah in situations of calamity and say it out of fear not out of patience. The hawqalah is a phrase to seek help and not a phrase of calamity (innaa lilaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon).
Ibn Abbaas defined la hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah as: “We have no ability to act in obedience except through Allaah and we have no power to leave disobedience except through Allaah.”
Ibn Taymiyyah mentions that the reason behind saying the hawqalah after the mu’aththin says ‘come to prayer/come to success’ is to seek Allaah’s help in performing the salaah.
May Allah give us the Hidayah to be amongst those whose tongues are moist with these great phrases that are light on the tongue but heavy on the scales.