Doing something is different compared to doing something with understanding. When a person performs a particular action it does bring consequences, however, when the person is aware of the consequences, then he or she tries to undertake the action in a better manner so that if the consequences are bad, then their effect could be minimized and if the consequences are good, then with alteration their effect could be maximized.
When it comes to the matters of religion, doing a religious deed just because it is commended does bring it religious benefits, but doing that particular thing by developing an understanding of it has far-reaching effects on both the action as well as the spirit with which it is undertaken. Among various other deeds that Muslims undertake reciting Takbeer is one of the acts that are sometimes done without proper pondering over the words it has and what they signify.
The lines below give the most commonly recited Takbeer along with the possible reflections which its words can have for a Muslim at a symbolic and probably at a spiritual level.
The general Takbeer recited most often by Muslims either in ordinary circumstances or in the special days of Dhul Hijja and Hajj is:
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaaha illallah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillahil-Hamd”
Translation: “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, to Him belongs all the praise!”
From the word of it, the Takbeer can be divided into three parts where each part has a reflection of its own. The three parts along with their reflection and symbolic importance are as follows.
The first part of Takbeer is:
“Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.”
This part of Takbeer refers to the Greatness of Allah Almighty. Being a Muslim it is the part of belief that one believes that Allah is the Supreme Being and all the adjectives of Supremeness are to be associated with Him and Greatness is the best of them all.
Being great refers to glory and grandeur. A Muslim understands that when he or she accepted Allah as the Lord, they also accepted the fact that Greatness starts and ends with Him and there is none in this world who can be given the adjective of Greatness instead of Him.
Besides acknowledging the Greatness of Allah Almighty, describing His Greatness or Grandeur is one of the recommended ways of remembering Allah Almighty. Allah says in Quran:
“And glorify Him with (grand) glorification.”(17:11)
Therefore, the first part of Tasbeeh is not just words, rather it carries the spirit of a Muslim attesting and submitting to the authority of Allah Almighty and praise Him in His liked words. Thus, when reciting the first part of Takbeer a Muslim must do away with all arrogance and should represent humility and submissiveness in his or her posture or act.
The second part of the Takbeer can be taken as:
“There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, Allah is the Greatest”
This part of the Tasbeeh is an alternate of what a Muslim proclaims when he or she enters Islam in the form of Tawheed. In this part a Muslim accepts the fact that Allah is the only Lord and there is no other Lord other than Him. Therefore, in this part of Tasbeeh also a Muslim submits to His Greatness and Oneness. As Allah says in Quran:
“That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand.”(22:62)
From this ayah of the Quran it is clear that there is no God but Allah and if there is someone else whom someone invokes, it is nothing but Falsehood. Ergo, when a Muslim is saying this part of the Tasbeeh the intentions in the background or the spirit behind it should be the fact that a Muslim is affirm in the belief that there is no deity or person whatsoever who can equal Allah when it comes worshiping and assistance. Hence, when such is the spirit while saying Takbeer the confidence of the Muslim naturally rises in whatever he or she is doing or about to do, as they know that they are invoking the Only One and the Greatest.
The third part in which the Takbeer can be divided as is as follows:
“Allah is the Greatest, to Him belongs all the praise!”
The third part of the Takbeer besides acknowledging the Greatness of Allah, also entails that all the praise that a Muslim can do of someone, Allah is the only one Who is entitled of all the praise. By saying that Allah is the Only One worthy of praise, a Muslim actually reaffirms the first two parts of the Takbeer that tell of the Greatness of Allah and His Oneness pertaining to Lordship.
Moreover, in the second part of the Takbeer there Allah Almighty is held as the Only One worthy of Worship and in the second the part a Muslim also attests that if someone is to be praised, only He is worthy of the praise. Pertaining to praising Allah Almighty there are numerous Tasbeehs of praise that Muslims perform and one example of which could be seen in the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) in which He said:
“He who recites in the morning and in the evening the statement: ‘Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and I begin with praising Him)’ one hundred times, will not be surpassed on the Day of Resurrection by anyone with better deeds except for one who utters the same words in the same number or more.”
Therefore, when reciting this part of the Takbeer a Muslim must have all the things in mind for which he or she thinks that they need to thank Allah and glorify Him.
In a nutshell, the meaning of word ‘Takbeer’ are of ‘Greatness’ therefore, when a Muslim recites Takbeer he or she is actually glorifying the Greatness of Allah and that is done so by believing in the fact that only Allah is the Lord and all that a person has for it the only One that is to be praised is Allah and Allah only.