Praising Allah: the Power of “SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi”

Palm tree in a blue sky

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

There are many hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the power of this phrase, SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi, which means, “Glory to Allah and praise Him.”

1. Whoever says “SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi” a hundred times during the day, his sins are wiped away, even if they are like the foam of the sea. [Sahih al-Bukhari; #7:168, Sahih Muslim; #4:2071]

2. Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet (sws) said, “Shall I tell you the words that Allah loves the most?” I said: “Yes, tell me, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The words dearest to Allah are: subhanAllah wa bihamdihi.

3. A palm tree is planted for the reciter [of the above] in Paradise. [at-Tirmidhi; 5:511, al-Hakim]

4. The Prophet Muhammad (sws) said: “Two words (subhanAllah wa bihamdihi) are light on the tongue, weigh heavily in the balance, and are loved by the Most Merciful One.”

Allah is so forgiving and gives us countless avenues to earn our forgiveness. Today, let’s have this phrase – subhanAllah wa bihamdihi – on our tongues, and let’s earn our forgiveness, and have entire groves of palm trees planted for us in Jannah, Insha’Allah.

Praise going up, blessings coming down

Of course there are many types of dhikr. Dhikr means praising Allah, remembering Allah. SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi is a good one, but even something as simple as saying, “Thank you, Allah” when you finish a meal is a type of dhikr.

When we have dhikr always on our tongues, we have this constant connection with God, even as we go about our daily routines. When things are going well, or when things are hard, we have this lifeline to Allah, this constant stream of praise going up, and blessings coming down. Our spirits are lighter, our hearts happier. We are grateful for everything we have, because we remember that every single little blessing – good health, the comfortable beds we sleep in, the orange juice we had for breakfast, even our beating hearts and the breath in our lungs – comes from Allah.

Dhikr is a guide to excellent character, and a light that keeps us on the path to Paradise.

We covet what we think about

Here’s another important point. I am the editor of IslamicAnswers.com, which is a common-sense advice website for marriage and family issues. One type of common question I get is from a young person who is madly in love with someone who is unavailable. Maybe the unavailable person is already married, or is not interested, or the parents do not approve, but it’s clear that the match is impossible.

One thing I tell such a young person is, stop thinking about the object of your desire. When the thoughts come, push them away. Absolutely do not spend your time gazing at photographs of him/her, reading old emails, dwelling on what-ifs, and fantasizing, because that will only reinforce your obsession, and keep the unavailable person in your mind.

What we think about, we come to desire.

With dhikr, we are using this principle for good. By constantly praising Allah, we keep Him in our minds and hearts. The more we do so, the more we come to desire His love, His forgiveness, and His presence. The more we think about Allah, the more we want to please Him. It becomes a beautiful cycle of remembrance and blessings, reinforcing each other.

That’s why Allah described the believers as,

“Who remember Allaah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides.” [3:191]

“…and the men who remember Allaah often and the women who do so – for them Allaah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [33:35]

“O you who have believed, remember Allaah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon.” [33:41-42]

The living and the dead

There is a very powerful hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in which he said,

“The example of the one who remembers his Lord (God) in comparison with the one who does not remember his Lord is that of the living and the dead.” [Sahih al-Bukhari; 11:208, Muslim; 1:539]

I could write an entire essay about that one hadith, but I’ll just say that the essence of life is our need for Allah. Without Him, our hearts would not beat, the rain would not fall, there would be no food on our tables, and no joy in our hearts. When we remember Allah we prove that we are spiritually alive. We acknowledge our need for the One God, and we acknowledge His favors upon us.

Conversely, if we do not remember Him, it’s as if we are spiritually dead. That’s why the famous classical scholar Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah said, “The example of dhikr to the heart is that of fish to water.”

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , Read 238 articles by
25 Comments Post a Comment
  1. María says:

    Thank you very much for the reminder, Wael.

  2. María M says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    I cannot tell which is my favourite post in this web page, but for sure this is one of my favourites, keeps me going, put my feet on the ground and reinforce my instincts, …There are so many people out there that needs to know about God,…that needs to learn how to show gratitude,… how to be forgiven, …I wasn´t so conscious of all this a year ago, I thanked God, and asked for forgiveness but no the way I do today, but I´m waking up. Alhamdulillah!

  3. muhammad says:

    Masha Allah, may Allah increase my faith and do more dhikr, Masha Allah!

  4. Farah Naz says:

    Alhumdulilah! Thanks for the Post! :)

  5. badawi says:

    Al salamu aliekum wa rahmatullah:

    I want to tell you about an amazing thing that happens to me evrey time I recite this dikir: Subahn Allah wa bi-hamdihi, subhan Allah alazeem all my day i have all my problems solved immediately next day if not the same day- whether it be financial proplems or any other problems. Just do it heartdley and you will see for your self. Subhan Allah wa Bi hahdihi, subhan Allah alazeem,Keepsay it all your day that is easy and simple but be sincere.

  6. Aaisha says:

    ALLAH DO MIRACLES IN LIFE..

    i love remembering ALLAH with these words “subhanallahi wabihamdihi subhanallahil azeem”

    LOVE ALLAH TRUELY..
    TRUST ALLAH COMPLETELY..
    ..
    and you will see how your world change!!!

  7. adeel says:

    I learned this zikir from my late grandmother when I was still young. I hope that Allah will help to show me ways to solve my problem by reading this zikir. May Allah bless my grandma for the zikir she has shared and may she dwell with the people of the Jannah.
    Ameen.

  8. Adnan says:

    when you walk towards Allah He runs towards us so lets all run towards Him Ameen

  9. Kelly says:

    Assalamu Alaykum

    I have looked for the actual hadith for #3 listed above “3. A palm tree is planted for the reciter [of the above] in Paradise. [at-Tirmidhi; 5:511, al-Hakim]“, and can not find it. Can you provide a more specific reference (hadith collection, etc.)? I searched for the hadith using this tool but do not get any results for the term ‘tree’ and ‘planted’ : http://www.quranexplorer.com/Hadith/English/Index.html (searches collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Dawood, Malik).

    Thank you so much for your help!

  10. jed says:

    No god,but ALLAH

  11. jassim ahmed says:

    assalamualaikum,
    Mashaallah! U are doin great work with this site. Even very few posts i’ve read help me understand a lot in life. May allah bless u and support u. Hope more people read ur posts and u get more reward

  12. Aysha says:

    After learning about Allah I immediately wanted to learn how to pray, after praying I immediately wanted to thank Allah for every single blessing he has given me in this life. After walking around with an angry heart most my life- always tired and physically drained my life has completely changed. The way I think and the way I feel on the inside has changed. It’s like a weight has been lifted. I no longer feel tired/exhausted and hamdulilah I believe it’s because I now have Allah in my heart. Thank you for your article it will help many people

  13. Ameena says:

    Jazakallah and Barakallah Feek.

  14. Elyas Mohammed says:

    Thanks Jazakallah Allah bless all our brothers and sisters.

  15. abdul rahim says:

    Jazakallah wael we can recite in sajdah(SUBHANALLH WA BI HAMDIHI ALLAHUMAGFIRLI) may allah keep all our tounges moist with his dhikr…AMEEN

  16. kenz says:

    Assalammualaikum.wr.wb

    Alhamdulillah,.wish all moeslem do more dzikir..
    Allways remember to Allah SWT..

  17. Asslamualikum,

    Alhamdollilah this dhikr is light on the tongue. I always recite this dhikr and got immense benefits from it MashaAllah………..

  18. Queen Sawdah says:

    MashaAllah ! Indeed, Dhikr Lightens Imaan And The Heart .. :-)

  19. Stacey says:

    Assalaamalaikum,

    I am a new Muslim. I am an African American woman.

    Since 9-11 (I was not Muslim then)
    Since Obama became president
    Since the Trayvon Martin case

    I have heard horrible comments about Islam, Muslims, Arabics, and African Americans.

    Sometimes I say something – other times I don’t. I’m beginning to feel a lot of anger.

    Please advise. Thank you.

  20. Batinah says:

    Alhamdulillah. “Subhanallahi wabihamdihi subhanallahil azeem,” I will say this dhikr from now on.

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