Without Allah’s help nothing can be done. Without Allah’s protection no one is safe.
And without Allah giving it, no one gets anything.
And without Allah making it happen, nothing ever happens. Not one thing.
This should help put in context the various Adkhaar (Plural for Dhikr meaning chants and recitations) the Qur’an and Hadith teach.
Some are pure praises of Allah: Alhamdulillah!
Some are about seeking Allah’s protection: A’oodhu Billah!
Some are asking Allah for help: Allahumma A-’Innee!
Some are supplications, that is, begging Allah for things – all sorts of things: Du’a.
Some are simply calling out to Allah in the most personal and intimate terms: Rabbanaa or Rabbi!
And there is no better Du’a (supplication or way of asking Allah for things), says Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, than Alhamdulillah. Just say Alhamdulillah and you got it made.
Nor is there a better and more effective way of thanking Allah for his gifts, favors and bounties than to say Alhamdulillah.
Just say Alhamdulillah, and that way you will thank Allah for all the wonderful things Allah fills your life with.
And keep on saying it – Alhamdulillah! – forever and ever and ever. And you will pave your path to Paradise, in both worlds, and remove all obstacles and hindrances on the way.
For, Alhamdulillah is not only the best way of expressing your gratitude to Allah. It is also, as I said earlier, according to the Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, the best prayer and supplication anyone can think of.
Alhamdulillah is. None better.
Ask yourself: How can there be? You praise him, he rewards you. You pocket what he gives you and thank him – and praise him more. And he gives you more. You take that and proceed to thank and praise him even more. And he gives you even more.
In the language of Mathematics, this is Infinite Regress of sorts. You can look upon it as the Infinite Regress of the uninterrupted downpour and inflow of Allah’s bounty, intertwined with the uninterrupted outflow of human devotion and gratitude.
It is the ultimate embodiment of what is sometimes called ‘Uboodiyyat – the quality and state of human beings acting as the true, utter and dutiful slaves of God that they are: Ibaad or ‘Abeed, plural for ‘Abd, meaning slave.
However, the way I am using this concept Infinite Regress here, it does not have the often negative or pejorative aspect that is sometimes associated with the use of the expression Infinite Regress in other fields. I use it here purely in the sense of the unbroken chain – dialectical chain, even circular chain, if you will – that characterizes the totally unfathomable and unending interaction between God and human beings.
You can say that the only way this chain ever breaks, if it does at all, is when the human being turns away from God – from thanking him forever and ever for his boundless mercies.
But even then the flood of God’s unending mercies on human beings does not really stop. It goes on and on and on.
Some of these chants and recitations – Adhkaar – that the Qur’an and Hadith teach us are for turning to Allah in repentance: Astaghfirullah!
Some are to express wonder and awe: Subhanallah!
Some portray grief, pain and shock: Innaa Lillah!
Some indicate your trust in Allah: Tawakkaltu ‘Alallah!
Some record and document how well-pleased you are with the wonderful happenings in and around you that you are able to behold and experience: Maa Shaa-Allah!
Some give due recognition to the obvious fact that there is no power, influence, force or recourse outside Allah: Laa Hawula wa Laa Quwwata Illaa Billah!
And so on and so forth.
And when you have absolutely, positively nothing else to do, you can always fill in all the blanks – every single waking, even sleeping, moment – in your life with the chants of Yaa Allahu! Yaa Allahu! Yaa Allahu!
Or Allah! Allah! Allah!
Or simply: Hoow! Hoow! Hoow!
Do it and then watch the fun as it breaks out in and all around you.