Takbir

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Inna lillāhإِنا لله
Bismi-llāhبسم الله
In šāʾ Allāhإن شاء الله
Mā šāʾ Allāhما شاء الله
Astaghfirullāhأستغفر الله
Jazakallāhجزاك الله
’A‘ūdhu billāhأعوذ بالله
Fī sabīl Allāhفي سبيل الله
Yarḥamuk-Allāhيرحمك الله
 
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"Allahu Akbar" redirects here. For the national anthem of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, see Allahu Akbar (anthem). For other uses, see Allahu Akbar (disambiguation).
The Takbīr in Arabic, as well as English.
A Muslim raises both of his hands to recite the Takbīr in prayer.
Takbīr in prayer.

The Takbīr (تَكْبِير), also written Tekbir or Takbeer, is the term for the Arabic phrase Allāhu Akbar (الله أكبر), usually translated as "God is [the] greatest," or "God is great".[1] It is a common Islamic Arabic expression, used in various contexts by Muslims; in formal prayer, in the call for prayer (adhān),[2] as an informal expression of faith, in times of distress, to express celebration or victory, or to express resolute determination or defiance.

The form Allāhu is the nominative of Allah, meaning "God". The form akbar is the elative of the adjective kabīr, meaning "great", from the Semitic root k-b-r. As used in the Takbīr it is usually translated as "greatest", but some authors prefer "greater".[3][4]

The term Takbīr itself is the stem II verbal noun (tafʿīlun) of the triliteral root k-b-r, meaning "great".

Usage[edit]

This phrase is recited by Muslims in many different situations. For example, when they are very happy, to express approval, to prevent a Muslim from becoming prideful by reminding them that Allah is their source of success, or as a battle cry, during times of extreme stress. In the Islamic world, instead of applause, often someone will shout "Takbīr" and the crowd will respond "Allahu Akbar".

In prayer[edit]

The phrase is said during each stage of both obligatory prayers (performed five times a day), and supererogatory prayers (performed at will). The Muslim call to prayer (adhan) by the muezzin and to commence prayer (iqama) also contains the phrase.[2]

In times of distress[edit]

This phrase is also used in times of distress.

Just before a Garuda Airbus A300B-4 crashed into the jungle near Medan, Indonesia, the pilot screamed "Aaaaaah! Allahu Akbar!" into his radio. According to a radio communication transcript, the pilot's conversation with the air controller had been in English, but his last words were this Arabic phrase as the plane crashed on September 26, 1997, killing all 235 people aboard in Indonesia's deadliest crash. It was suspected that the crash may have been due to either disorientation or engine failure caused by local dense smog resulting from forest fires.[5][6]

After a failed attempt to climb the world's second highest peak, K2, according to Greg Mortenson's book, he was greeted by his porter with the phrase, "Allah Akbar! Blessings to Allah you're alive!"[7]

In times of joy and gratitude[edit]

When Reshma Begum was discovered alive 17 days after the 2013 Savar building collapse in Bangladesh which killed 1129 people, crowds jubilantly cried Allahu Akbar to express their joy and gratitude that she had survived.[8][9]

As a multi-purpose phrase, it is sometimes used by Arab football commentators as an expression of amazement.[10]

Following births and deaths[edit]

The phrase is used after the birth of a child as a means of praising God.[11]

In the hadith, Muhammad is reported to have spoken the Takbīr after a funeral.[12]

During the Eid Festival and the Hajj[edit]

During the festival of Eid al-Adha and the days preceding it, Muslims recite the Takbīr. This is particularly the case on the Day of Arafa.[13][13]

Jihadist usage[edit]

The phrase is well known in the west for its common use as a battle cry in Islamist protests, Islamic extremism, and Islamic

In warfare and politics[edit]

In history[edit]

It has been used historically as a battle cry during war. It was first used in war by Muhammad in the Battle of Badr, the first battle in Islam.[14]

Iranian usage[edit]

During the Iranian revolution of 1979, it was shouted from rooftops in Iran during the evenings as a form of protest. This practice returned in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election,[15][16] to protest the election results.[17] Many people shouted it from 22:00–22:30 every night, after the 2009 Iranian election to protest the result.

In Syrian and Iraqi Civil War[edit]

In videos released during the course of the Syrian Civil War, Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra Front, other rebel and Islamist groups and ISIS forces are heard shouting "Takbir" and "Allahu Akbar" in the background while fighting.

In the course of the Iraqi insurgency, Islamist fighters are seen and heard shouting "Takbir" and "Allahu Akbar".

Jihadists and the Islamist videos are also shown its fighters making Takbir with a pointing finger up.

On flags[edit]

The phrase "Allahu Akbar" is written on the center of the flag of Iraq, 22 times along the borders of the central white stripe on the flag of Iran, and beneath the Shahadah in the flag of Afghanistan in white script on the central red background as determined by the 2004 draft constitution.

Iraq

During the Persian Gulf war in January 1991, Saddam Hussein held a meeting with top military commanders, where it was decided to add the words Allahu Akbar (described as the Islamic battle cry)[18] to Iraq's flag to boost his secular regime's religious credentials, casting himself as the leader of an Islamic army.[19][20] Hussein described the flag as "the banner of jihad and monotheism".[21]

In 2004, Iraq's U.S.-picked Governing Council approved a new flag for Iraq that abandoned symbols of Hussein's regime, such as the words Allahu Akbar.[19][22] In January 2008, however, Iraq's parliament passed a law to change the flag by leaving in the phrase, but changing the calligraphy of the words Allahu Akbar, which had been a copy of Saddam's handwriting, to a Kufic script.[23][24]

Iran

The phrase Allahu Akbar is written on the Iranian flag, as called for by Article 18 of Iran's constitution.[25] The phrase appears 22 times on the flag.[26]

Afghanistan

The Afghan constitution that came into force on January 4, 2004, required that Allahu Akbar be inscribed on Afghanistan's national flag.[27]

1930s Waziristan (Pakistan) resistance movement

A resistance movement that fought British rule in Waziristan, Pakistan, in the 1930s used a red flag bearing Allahu Akbar in white letters.[28]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Allahu Akbar". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-253-21627-3. 
  3. ^ E. W. Lane, Arabic English Lexicon, 1893, gives for kabir: "greater, and greatest, in body, or corporeal substance, and in estimation or rank or dignity, and more, or most, advanced in age, older, and oldest" (p. 2587). The translator[who?] of Ibn Qayyim's The Way to Patience and Gratitude into English opts for "Allah is Greater". In the Second Edition on page 463, an explanation is given: "...I preferred using 'the Greater' to 'the Greatest', as it is commonly used. Allahu Akbar literally means, "Allah is Greater" with the comparative mode. Yet, this does not mean that He (Glory be to Him) is not the Greatest, nor does it mean that there is anything that is put in comparison with Him. This is because when the Muslim says it, he means He is "Greater" than anything else, which, consequently, means He is the Greatest. This use gives more influence. This may be why it is used in Arabic this way, otherwise it should have been used as "Allahu al-Akbar", in the superlative mode. Surely, Allah knows best."
  4. ^ A.O.Green (1887). A Practical Arabic Grammar. Clarendon Press. p. 66. 
  5. ^ "Left-right confusion led to smog air crash". London: The Independent. September 30, 1997. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ AP via Seattle Times: Indonesian Pilot Was Confused Before Crash, September 29, 1997
  7. ^ Mortenson, Greg, and Relin, David Oliver, ''Three cups of tea: one man's mission to fight terrorism and build nations—one school at a time'', p. 20, ISBN 0-670-03482-7. Viking. 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  8. ^ Andrea, Crossan. "Survivor Found in Collapsed Bangladesh Building After 17 Days". PRI's The World. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Survivor pulled from Bangladesh ruins after 17 days". Global Post. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Arab commentator screams "Allahu Akbar" after USA's goal on Spain". 
  11. ^ http://www.jerrahi.org/library/articles/birth_school
  12. ^ "The Permissibility of Reciting Azaan at Graveside". Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Rabbani, Faraz. "The Day of `Arafah: The 9th of Dhu'l Hijjah". Qibla.com. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Ludwig W. Adamec, Historical Dictionary of Islam, Scarecrow Press, 2nd ed. 2009, pg. 32
  15. ^ Yahoo News[dead link]
  16. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. June 9, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ "How Iran's opposition inverts old slogans". BBC News. December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  18. ^ "''New Straits Times'". google.com. January 15, 1991. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "U.S.-picked Iraq leaders approve new flag". USA Today. April 26, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  20. ^ Deroy Murdock. "Murdock, Deroy, "The 9/11 Connection," The National Review, April 3, 2003". Article.nationalreview.com. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  21. ^ ''Saddam's war of words: politics, religion, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait'', Jerry Mark Long , University of Texas Press, 2004, ISBN 0-292-70264-7. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ May 26, 2004 (May 26, 2004). "Rosen, Nir, "Iraq's religious tide cannot be turned back," ''Asia Times''". Atimes.com. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  23. ^ Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, "Iraqi Lawmakers Vote to Change Flag," USA Today, January 22, 2008, accessed February 9, 2010
  24. ^ Abdul, Qassim (February 5, 2008). "Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, "Iraq unveils flag without Saddam's stars", ''USA Today''". Usatoday.com. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  25. ^ ''Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran'', Iran, Hamid Algar Mizan Press, 1980, ISBN 0-933782-02-0. October 17, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  26. ^ Jacoby, Jeff, "Is Israel a Jewish State?", The Boston Globe, November 14, 2007, accessed February 11, 2010
  27. ^ [ McCarthy, Andrew C., "Cold Comfort on Islam and Apostasy; No one who’s actually read the Afghan constitution should be surprised by the Abdul Rahman case", National Review, March 27, 2006, accessed February 11, 2010]
  28. ^ ""Analysis: A ride on the wild side," ''UPI''". Accessmylibrary.com. September 19, 2005. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]