When you hear the expression Allahu Akbar (God is Greater), what do you think? What do you see and what do you feel?
If you were to believe the magic box sitting in your living room, then you might think of bearded men with turbans screaming. You might imagine atrocious “honor killings” in remote villages and feel frightened. How could such a beautiful expression of gratitude be transformed into one associated with fear and unease?
The truth is that Allahu Akbar is supposed to be the epitome of gratitude manifested into words. It is an expression of comfort; a release from the daily harm we commit unto our own selves. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have used this expression as a slogan for their own agendas. Ultimately though, a re-connection with the true meaning of this expression will enlighten us all to it’s beauty.
Remove whatever stereotypes you might have for a moment and try to rediscover what Allahu Akbar means.
... is when you look into the diamond-encrusted night sky and realize that you exist in such a vast and balanced universe.
... is when you reflect upon your outer and inner self and experience the epiphany that, through His expansive worlds and creations, He specifically thought of you.
... is to look into the eyes of your children and see the reflection of your spouse’s love within them.
... is to know that you can leave your affairs to Him and never be let down.
... is to stand in prayer throughout the night while the masses sleep and to know that He is listening and accepting your tears of repentance.
... is to be a source of strength and inspiration to your brother or sister, knowing that it pleases Him the most.
... is to be grateful for each heartbeat, each breath and each blink that occurs without any personal effort.
... is to feed the needy, to protect the orphan, and to visit the sick.
... is to know that His mercy extends to all creation.
... is to know that any calamity that falls upon you is another opportunity to get things right this time around.
... is to know that He created all humans from the same source and that to treat each other with respect and dignity is incumbent upon us all.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! What does it mean to you?