Al-Hameed / Al-Hamid

(The Praiseworthy)

Al-Hameed Meaning:

The Praiseworthy, The Laudable one.

Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Hameed (in Arabic: ٱلْحَمِيدُ), meaning the one worthy of praise. He qualifies as the praiseworthy one because of all His attributes and because He has given us what we have. He is the only one deserving in every manner of praise, and He should be exalted. Join in extolling him by repeating ‘al-hamdu lillah, meaning ‘praise be to Allah.’.

Mentions of Al-Hameed:
From Quran & Hadith

From the root h-m-d which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to praise, to laud with deep feelings of adoration and submission to praise one for something done by that one’s own will to speak well of, honor, commend to eulogize.

The name al-Hamid is mentioned throughout the Qur'an for a total of seventeen times. In the first two ayat of the Qur'an, it is written, Bismillah hir rahman nir raheem, Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen note the word, Al-hamd meaning, "[All] praise and thanks" and continues lillaahi "be to Allah." This encompasses what it means to be al-Hameed. It then goes onto list several reasons why:

(1) Rabbil ‘aalameen - He is the "Lord of the worlds"
(2) Ar-Rahmaan - He is "The Entirely Merciful"
(3) Ar-Raheem - He is "the Especially Merciful"
(4) Maaliki Yawmid-Deen - He is "The Master [Ruling judge] of the Day of Recompense."

This affirms Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as being al-Hameed (the praiseworthy one) and the natural response to such a realization would be Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een "It is You we worship and You we ask for help."

The is one example which illustrates why He is praiseworthy and importance behind the phrase alhamdulillah. In the Qur'an Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ explicitly refers to Himself as al-Hameed and we'll explore those next.

وَهُدُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱلطَّيِّبِ مِنَ ٱلْقَوْلِ وَهُدُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطِ ٱلْحَمِيدِ

Wa hudooo ilat taiyibi minal qawli wa hudooo ilaaa siraatil hameed

English Translation:
"And they had been guided [in worldly life] to good speech, and they were guided to the path of the Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 22:24)

Here the name is mentioned independently, but more commonly, you will find that the Qur'an mentions Al-Hameed in pairs with other attributes. Exploring the association of these names provides more clarity and allows for a holistic understanding of each name.

ٱلَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ بِٱلْبُخْلِ ۗ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلْغَنِىُّ ٱلْحَمِيدُ

Allazeeena yabkhaloona wa yaamuroonan naasa bil bukhl; wa many yatawalla fa innal laaha Huwal Ghaniyyul Hameed

English Translation:
"[Those] who are stingy and enjoin upon people stinginess. And whoever turns away – then indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 57:24)

وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَا لُقْمَـٰنَ ٱلْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ ٱشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِۦ ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌۭ

Wa laqad aatainaa Luqmaanal hikmata anishkur lillaah; wa many yashkur fa innamaa yashkuru linafsihee wa man kafara fa innal laaha Ghaniyyun Hameed

English Translation:
"And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], “Be grateful to Allah.” And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 31:12)

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلْفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلْغَنِىُّ ٱلْحَمِيدُ

Yaaa ayyunhan naasu antumul fuqaraaa’u ilallaahi wallaahu Huwal Ghaniyyul Hameed

English Translation:
"O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 35:15)

In these verses we see the pairing of the names al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient One) with al-Hameed. Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ would be worthy of praise even if no one existed. Imam al-Ghazali writes that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is "Praised by the virtue of His praise of Himself from eternity." He is self-sufficient and free of the need of praise, we praise Him because we are in need. We praise Him because of the perfection of His attributes, and to get His attention so that we may receive His mercy, blessings, and guidance. And although Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ does not need us, He has not forgotten His creation, He is al-Waliyy (Protecting Friend) who cares for our success.

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى يُنَزِّلُ ٱلْغَيْثَ مِنۢ بَعْدِ مَا قَنَطُوا۟ وَيَنشُرُ رَحْمَتَهُۥ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْوَلِىُّ ٱلْحَمِيدُ

Wa Huwal lazee yunazzilul ghaisa min ba’di maa qanatoo wa yanshuru rahmatah; wa Huwal Waliyyul Hameed

English Translation:
"And it is He who sends down the rain after they had despaired and spreads His mercy. And He is the Protector, the Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 42:28)

In the next verse, it mentions how no one could succeed in proving the falsehood of the Qur'an. It is defensible and protected from any attack "from the front or from the rear." This is because Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is al-Hakeem (The All-Wise) yet another reason why He is worthy of praise. Although not mentioned in the verse, we understand whatever is decreed by Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ there is wisdom in it. We may not understand it. We may only see the blessings in some hardship with the passage of time. Regardless of what happens, Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ remains the praiseworthy one.

لَّا يَأْتِيهِ ٱلْبَـٰطِلُ مِنۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلَا مِنْ خَلْفِهِۦ ۖ تَنزِيلٌۭ مِّنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍۢ

Laa yaateehil baatilu mim baini yadaihi wa laa min khalfihee tanzeelum min Hakeemin Hameed

English Translation:
"Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy." (Qur'an 41:42)

The pairing of names helps us to see that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is al-Hameed (worthy of praise) in all circumstances. That's why even in the most difficult of circumstances we say alhamdulillah. One of the most painful traumatic experiences any parent can go through is the loss of a child. Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "When a slave's child dies, Allah the Most High asks His angels, 'Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?" They reply in the affirmative. He then asks, 'Have you taken the fruit of his heart?' They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon he asks, 'What has My slave said?' They say: 'He has praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un (We belong to Allah and to Him we shall be returned). Allah says: 'Build a house for My slave in Jannah and name it as Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)."'[1]

In the hadith, another story exemplifies the best way a believer responds to tragedy. It is the story of Umm Sulaym (ra) and the loss of her child. She was one of the first Muslim women converts, and as we'll shortly see, she was emotionally strong, intelligent, and did things methodically or strategically.

Narrated by Anas bin malik: Abu Talha had a child who was sick. He had a child who was sick. [Abu Talhah was upset and distressed by the child’s sickness.] Once, while Abu Talha was out, the child died. [Umm Sulaym (the mother) washed the child, enshrouded him and laid him down. She said to the people in the house, “Do not tell his father that he died before I tell him.”] When Abu Talha returned home [along with some of his friends from the mosque], he asked, "How is my child" Umm Sulaym replied, "He is quieter than he has ever been." [Her husband took it to mean that the child’s condition had improved.] [2]

She brought the meal and they all ate dinner, [then the guests left.] [She got up and put on perfume and adorned herself,] [making herself more beautiful than she ever had before.] He slept with her, when he finished [they slept and when it was morning, he did ghusl (full ablution) and was heading to leave, so she said to him] [“O Abu Talhah, do you think that if some people lent something to some others, then they asked for it back, do they have the right not to give it back?” He said, “No.”] [They should return it to them] [She said, “Allah Almighty, lent your son to you, and now He has taken him back, so seek reward with Him and have patience.”] She said: "Bury the child (as he's dead)."

[He became angry and said, “You left me until I did what I did (i.e., had intercourse), then you tell me that my son has died!”] [Then he said, “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return) and praised Allah.] In the morning Abu Talha came to Allah's Messenger ﷺ and told him about that. The Prophet ﷺ said (to him), "Did you sleep with your wife last night?" Abu Talha said, "Yes". The Prophet ﷺ said, "O Allah! Bestow your blessing on them as regards that night of theirs." Umm Sulaym gave birth to a boy. Abu Talha told me to take care of the child till it was taken to the Prophet.

Then Abu Talha took the child to the Prophet ﷺ [he found him smearing some camels with tar to protect them from diseases, or marking them] and Umm Sulaym sent some dates along with the child. The Prophet ﷺ took the child (on his lap) and asked if there was something with him. The people replied, "Yes, a few dates." The Prophet took a date, chewed it, took some of it out of his mouth, put it into the child's mouth and did Tahnik for him with that, and named him 'Abdullah. [There was no young man better than him among al-Ansar]

Connecting your salat with this name:
When reciting durood ibrahim we call upon these two names, al-Hameed and al-Majeed. Narrated Ka`b bin Ujra: It was said, "O Allah's Messenger ﷺ We know how to greet you, but how to invoke Allah for you?" The Prophet said, "Say: Allahumma salli ala Muhammadin wa'ala `Ali Muhammaddin, kama sallaita 'ala all Ibrahim, innaka Hamidun Majid." Meaning: "O Allah, send your grace, honour and mercy upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your grace, honour and mercy upon Ibrahim, You are indeed Praiseworthy, Most Glorious." [3]

The believer benefits from knowing that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is al-Hameed. If we introspect with this name, we ask ourselves how we can make ourselves worthy of praise - not in the sense of worship but admiration for our faith, character, or actions. What qualities must we possess to be deserving of respect from our peers, friends, or family?

[1] Riyad as-Salihin 1395
[2] Sahih Muslim 2144d & Sahih al-Bukhari 5470 | Combined narration from several sources, Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tayalisi, Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Ibn Haban
[3]Sahih al-Bukhari 4797

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