The Purpose of the Islamic Phrase 'Alhamdulillah'

It means "Praise be to Allah" and expresses gratitude for his goodness

Man Offering Namaz At Mosque
Alhamdulillah is an important aspect of Islam. Cielo De La Paz / EyeEm / Getty Images

"Alhamdulillah," also spelled "al-Hamdi Lil lah" and "al-hamdulillah," is pronounced "al-HAM-doo-LI-lah" and means "Praise be to Allah," or God. It is a phrase that Muslims often use in conversation, especially when thanking God for blessings.

Meaning of Alhamdulillah

There are three parts to the phrase:

  • Al, meaning "the"
  • Hamdu, meaning "praise"
  • Li-lah, meaning to "Allah" (the word "Allah" is actually a combination of "al," meaning "the," and "ilah," meaning "deity" or "God."

There are four possible English translations of Alhamdulillah, all of them very similar:

  • "All praise is due to Allah."
  • "All praise is due to God alone."
  • "All the praises and thanks be to Allah."
  • "Praise be to Allah."

Significance of Alhamdulillah

 The Islamic phrase "alhamdulillah" can be used in several different ways. In each case, the speaker is thanking Allah:

  • Alhamdulillah can be used as a secular exclamation of pleasure, much as Americans might use the expression "Thank God." For example: "Alhamdulillah! I got an A in chemistry!"
  • Alhamdulillah may be a statement of gratitude to God for any gift, whether it be simply the gift of life or the gift of success, health, or strength.
  • Alhamdulillah may be used in prayer. By thanking Allah, the creator of all things, one is lifting prayers to God.
  • Alhamdulillah may be used as a term of acceptance for trials and difficulties placed before us. In other words, one can say "Alhamdulillah" in all situations because all situations have been created by God.

Muslims and Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is one of the cornerstones in the life of Muslims and is praised highly in Islam. Here are four ways to use alhamdulillah in thanking Allah:

Say “Alhamdulillah” after blessings and hardships. When things go right, the only thing Allah asks in return is your gratitude. Also express your thanks to Allah for saving you from calamity. The Quran says, “And remember when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]. But if you deny, indeed, my punishment is severe.'”

Remembering Allah at all times, especially during prayers, is a form of gratitude. Pray on time, don't forget obligatory prayers and, if possible, make sunnah (optional prayers) and du'a (personal prayers) in remembrance for all Allah has bestowed upon you. The Quran says, ‘”Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer, we will surely cause him to live a good life, and we will surely give them their reward [in the hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.”

Helping another person is a sign of a true Muslim. When you see a classmate or coworker short of money for lunch, offer to share your lunch or buy the classmate lunch. And you both can say “Alhamdulillah.” The Quran says: “As for those who believed and did righteous deeds, for them will be the Gardens of Refuge, as accommodation for what they used to do.”

Treat others with respect, dignity, and equality. The more you stay away from bad actions and thoughts, the more you respect Allah’s words and show gratitude for all he has done for you. Muhammad observed, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day does not harm his neighbor, and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day shows hospitality to his guest, and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day speaks good or remains silent.”