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

Arabic Root:
From the root ha-mim-dal (ح م د), 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.

Connecting this name with Surah Fatiha:
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." 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."

From Surah Fatiha, we understand it is Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ who's the source of all gifts. He's the Lord of the worlds, giving us life and intellect. He's surrounded us with beauty and love. He is the ruling judge on the day of recompense, but Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ prefaced this first by telling us that He is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem - The Most Beneficent and The Most Merciful. Hence, He is the all-praiseworthy. We should feel the weight behind the words we speak. For example, in saying alhamdulillah, we recognize that He alone is worthy of all praise. Through our words and actions, we praise Him, and if we are mindful of the reason behind the words we say as we say them, we can't help but be overcome with gratitude.

Al-Hameed is mentioned throughout the Qur'an 17 times, and we'll examine a few ayat to further understand this attribute.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَٰتِ مَا كَسَبۡتُمۡ وَمِمَّآ أَخۡرَجۡنَا لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ ٱلۡخَبِيثَ مِنۡهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسۡتُم بِـَٔاخِذِيهِ إِلَّآ أَن تُغۡمِضُواْ فِيهِۚ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

Yaaa 'ayyuhal lazeena aamanooo anfiqoo min taiyibaati maa kasabtum wa mimmaaa akhrajna lakum minal ardi wa laa tayammamul khabeesa minhu tunfiqoona wa lastum bi aakhizeehi illaaa an tughmidoo feeh; wa'lamooo annal laaha Ghaniyyun Hameed

English Translation:
"O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy." — (Qur'an 2:267)

ٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡخَلُونَ وَيَأۡمُرُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ بِٱلۡبُخۡلِۗ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِيُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ

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)

وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا لُقۡمَٰنَ ٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ أَنِ ٱشۡكُرۡ لِلَّهِۚ وَمَن يَشۡكُرۡ فَإِنَّمَا يَشۡكُرُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٞ

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 ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِيُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ

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)

Exploring Al-Ghaniyy and Al-Hamid:
As we mentioned previously, exploring the association of these names provides clarity. It allows for a holistic understanding giving further insight into who Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is. For example, we have Al-Ghaniyy (The Self-Sufficient - coupled 10 times), Al-Azeez (The Mighty one - 3 times), Al-Hakim, Al-Majid, and Al-Wali (The Wise, The Glorious, and The Patron - each paired 1 time).

In the previous verses, we see the pairing of 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 from the need of praise. We praise Him because we are in need. Ibn Arabi wrote in his book, "He is His own praiser, the one who praises Himself [...] This is the height of generosity (karam): first, He gives you, and then He Praises you for what He has given you." This is analogous to how we often know the creator and praise them for their inventions. They are beloved and become heroes, idolized in pop-culture. But the true creator of the universe, the master inventor is Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. This should shape our behavior to praise Him even though He does not need it for His sustenance.

لَّا يَأۡتِيهِ ٱلۡبَٰطِلُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَلَا مِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦۖ تَنزِيلٞ مِّنۡ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٖ

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)

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ ٱلۡغَيۡثَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا قَنَطُواْ وَيَنشُرُ رَحۡمَتَهُۥۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡوَلِيُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ

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)

Exploring Al-Hakeem/Al-Waliyy and Al-Hamid:
In these verses, it mentions Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ as Al-Waliyy (The Protecting Associate). Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ gives people what they need, when they need it. He "sends down rain after they had despaired and spreads His mercy." In the ayah, rain is said as symbolic of nourishment or, as other commentators interpret it, spiritual or divine inspiration. We understand whatever is decreed by Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ there is wisdom in it. We may not understand it, and we don't necessarily need to. The veil may be lifted with the passage of time to see the blessings in some of our hardships. But regardless of what happens, remain dutiful to Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ, and be patient because whatever He has ordered will ultimately be for their benefit.

Dealing with a tragedy:
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 darkest moments, we say alhamdulillah. One of the most painful experiences any human 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 servant's child dies, Allah, the Most High asks His angels, 'Have you taken out the life of the child of My servant?" 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 servant 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 servant in Jannah and name it as Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)."'[1]

From the hadith, there is another story that 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 a courageous, emotionally strong, and intelligent woman. She did things in a manner to please Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ.

Narrated by Anas bin malik: Abu Talha 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, and 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, 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 deserve 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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