What is the meaning of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (SWT) and why do Muslims say it?

The translation of this Arabic phrase is “May He be praised and exalted” or more simply put that all praises are for him alone.

This is said by Muslim’s as a show of respect to God, similar to how when we address our teachers or parents we use words like Mrs, Professor or Sir.  We are quite deliberate in making our language reflect our inner feelings to show love and respect.

In the same manner, after saying Allah’s name we say, “subhanahu wa ta’ala”. In doing so, we are addressing him as the authority figure deserving of respect. 

Allah also has 99 other names, each which refer to a different characteristic of his being. You can find the guide to all 99 names of Allah here.

Other Common Spellings:

  • Allah SWT (which is the short form abbreviation)
  • Allah subhanahu Wa Ta’ala
  • Allah subhana watala

Hadith on Remembering Allah:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Allah, the Most High said: ‘I am as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a gathering better than that. And if he seeks to draw nearer to Me by a hand span, I draw nearer to him by a forearm’s length, and if he comes to Me by a forearm’s length, I draw nearer to him by an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him quickly.’”

Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi 3603
In-book reference: Book 48, Hadith 234
English translation: Vol. 6, Book 46, Hadith 3603

allah subhana wa ta ala in Arabic:

Here is how to read or write Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala in Arabic text,

الله سبحانه وتعالى

When To Say or Use SWT

Whenever you say Allah subhanahu wa ta-ala’s name it should be followed with some type of Islamic honorific. This requires minimal effort and the barakah (rewards) of doing so are incomprehensible. There are a number of different ways we can honor his name, we can say Allah Ta’ala which is shortened form meaning Allah The Almighty, Allah azzawajal meaning the might and majestic, or as we just covered Allah S.W.T.

The Quran directly refers to Allah as subhanahu wa ta’ala in 6 different ayats of the Qur’an. Here’s are the mentions in chronological order:

Surah Al Anam Ayat 100:

وَجَعَلُوا۟ لِلَّهِ شُرَكَآءَ ٱلْجِنَّ وَخَلَقَهُمْ ۖ وَخَرَقُوا۟ لَهُۥ بَنِينَ وَبَنَٰتٍۭ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۚ سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

Wa ja’aloo lillaahi shurakaaa’al jinna wa khalaqa hum wa kharaqoo lahoo baneena wa banaatim bighairi ‘ilm Subhaanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘amma yasifoon

100. But they have attributed to Allah partners – the jinn, while He has created them – and have fabricated for Him sons and daughters. Exalted is He and high above what they describe

Surah Yunus Ayat 18

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَٰٓؤُلَآءِ شُفَعَٰٓؤُنَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّـُٔونَ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَلَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Wa ya’budoona min doonil laahi maa laa yadurruhum wa laa yanfa’uhum wa yaqooloona haaa’ulaaa’i shufa’aaa ‘unaa ‘indal laah; qul atunabbi ‘oonal laaha bima laa ya’lamu fis samaawaati wa laa fil ard; subhaanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘ammaa yushrikoon
18. And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah ” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

Surah An Nahl Ayat 1:

أَتَىٰٓ أَمْرُ ٱللَّهِ فَلَا تَسْتَعْجِلُوهُ ۚ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Ataaa amrullaahi falaa tasta’jilooh; Subhaanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘ammaa yushrikoon
1. The command of Allah is coming, so be not impatient for it. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

Surah Al Isra Ayat 43

سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ عُلُوًّۭا كَبِيرًۭا

Subhaanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘ammaa yaqooloona ‘uluwwan kabeeraa
43. Exalted is He and high above what they say by great sublimity.

Surah Ar-Rum Ayat 40:

ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ هَلْ مِن شُرَكَآئِكُم مَّن يَفْعَلُ مِن ذَ‌ٰلِكُم مِّن شَىْءٍۢ ۚ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Allaahul lazee khalaqa kum summa razaqakum summa yumeetukum summa yuhyeekum hal min shurakaaa’ikum mai yaf’alu min zaalikum min shai’; Sub haanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘ammaa yushrikoon (section 4)
40. Allah is the one who created you, then provided for you, then will cause you to die, and then will give you life. Are there any of your “partners” who does anything of that? Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

Surah Az Zumar Ayat 67:

وَمَا قَدَرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِۦ وَٱلْأَرْضُ جَمِيعًۭا قَبْضَتُهُۥ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ وَٱلسَّمَـٰوَ‌ٰتُ مَطْوِيَّـٰتٌۢ بِيَمِينِهِۦ ۚ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Wa maa qadarul laaha haqqa qadrihee wal ardu jamee ‘an qabdatuhoo Yawmal Qiyaamit wassamaawaatu matwiyyaatum biyameenih; Subhaanahoo wa Ta’aalaa ‘amma yushrikoon
67. They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

Here are some few real life examples of people using SWT in regular conversation. We went to Twitter and Facebook to see how Muslim’s are using this term:

Example #1:
I’m learning to leave everything to Allah swt, whether it’s uni, marriage , work, friends or life it’s self to Allah swt because what is meant for me won’t pass me, my whole life has been planned by my creator and he is the best of all planners.

Example#2:
Anyone hurting, be it physical or mental pain, I pray Allah swt heals you all and gives you the ability to come back stronger

Example #3:
No matter how lonely the Dunia may seem, you have Allah swt

Example #4:
(I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased) 20:84 “Sprinkle your ibaadah with longing and yearning to Allah (Subhanu Watala) to feel the excitement and pleasure in performing that ibaadah”

 

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