Leave the worldly life, enter the prayer, i.e private conversation with The Lord of both You and I and everything around us.
- Say “Allahuakbar”
- Raise hands to the ear lobes or to the shoulders
Takbeer: To declare the greatness of someone
Al-Ihraam: To enter into a state of having prohibited materialistic things upon our self and devote the next few minutes to our private conversation with Allah which is what our prayer is
Allah: From Ilaah, i.e. The one who is worshipped with love, reverence, and feeling His supremacy, Grandeur
Akbar: The greatest, Largest
A key to Coolness of My Eyes:
Takbeer includes the meaning to enlarge something/someone or to regard it/them as large, or to declare their largeness and greatness. In essence ‘takbeer’ is to say Allahuakbar.
When we say Allahuakbar, we are saying Allah is the Greatest and the Largest. Why be anxious and worried about anyone or any fear in this worldly life since all sources of worldly fear are all so small while Allah is greater than anyone and everyone, in fact He is the Greatest. So leave the worries of this world and all thoughts aside for the next ten minutes of prayer. Since Allah is the Greatest, why lose your concentration in prayer with anything or anyone lesser than Allah, The Greatest!
Thus we raise both hands by their sides and up to the shoulder level or to the ear lobes and we raise them forward and up, brush aside and leave behind all thoughts, materialistic love and concerns behind and we raise our hands forward towards the qiblah and with it flows your whole attention and focus onto the beginning of the private conversation that is about to start between you and Allah, the Greatest, the Almighty, the Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the All-Knowing, The one who Guides and the All-Wise. Hence, what can be more appropriate as you make this commitment than to declare that Allah is the Greatest- greater than anything worldly that we are leaving behind for the next ten minutes as we turn our hearts and minds to the One that matters above all else, our Creator and THE REAL TRUE PROVIDER!
We declare the greatness of Allah verbally, let that verbal declaration direct our mind to bring full attention and focus to what we are declaring of the Greatness of Allah. Furthermore, the physical gesture compliments and reinforces our new frame of mind directed solely at this new private conversation with the Devine!
The tongue commences this new experience, and directs the mind while our physical actions reinforce the soothing and awe-inspiring atmosphere of connection and privately conversing with the Devine, Allah!
More wisdom on Raising the Hands
قال ابن العثيمين الحكمة في رفع اليدين تعظيم الله عز وجل فيجتمع في ذلك التعظيم القولي والفعلي والتعبد الله بهما فإن قولك الله أكبر لاشك لو استحضرت معنى هذا تماماً لغابت عنك الدنيا كلها لأن الله أكبر من كل شيء وأنت الآن واقفٌ بين يدي من هو أكبر من كل شيء. ثم إن بعض العلماء علل بتعليل آخر إشارة إلى رفعٍ الحجاب بينك وبين الله والإنسانُ عادة يرفع الأشياء بيديه ويعمل بيديه. وعلل بعضهم بتعليل ثالث وهو أن ذلك من زينة الصلاة لأن الإنسان إذا وقف وكبَّر بدون أن يتحرك لم تكن لصلاة على وجه حسنٍ كاملٍ ولا مانع أن تكون كل هذه مقصودة. [شرح الممتع على زادالمستقنع للشيخ ابن عثيمين]ا
The great scholar Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Uthaymeen, shed light on the wisdom of raising hands when we beginning n the prayer with Takbeer-ul-Ihraam, writing in his famous fiqh Classic, Sharh Mumtia:
“We say the wisdom in raising the two hands is a means of declaring the greatness and supremacy of Allah, the Exalted, such that all combine together: the asserting of greatness and supremacy of Allah verbally, by an action. And thereby we worship Allah verbally and by our limbs because the saying of Allahuakbar is such that if you were to comprehend its meaning fully, the whole world would disappear (all the matters of this dunya would seem meaningless and you wouldn’t concentrate on it rather you would concentrate more on the takbeer and what is to follow) because Allah is greater and larger than everything (i.e. From your mind due to the sublime effect of the meaning of Allahuakbar) and all this while you realise that you’re standing in front of the One who is greater than everything!
Some scholars gave another reason in raising the hands with takbeer, that by doing so you lift the barrier between you and Allah because usually humans tend to do that action when lifting things.
Other scholars gave a third reason that by raising your hands you beautify the prayer because had a person just stood there and said the takbeer without any motion, it would not be displaying the best manners.
All three may very well be the reasons for raising the hands.”
As for appreciating the meaning of Allahuakbar, Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen, explained it with three verses from the Quraan:
قال الشيخ ابن العثيمين: معناها أن الله تعالى أكبر من كل شيء في ذاته وأسمائه وصفاته، وكل ما تحتمله هذه الكلمة من معنى. ٠
قال الله عز وجل:“وما قدروا الله حق قدره والأرض جميعا قبضتُه يوم القيامة والسماوات مطْويَّات بيمينهِ سبحانَه”(الزمر ٦٧)١
وقال عز وجل: “يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السماء كطيِّ السِجِلِّ للكتبِ كما بدأنا أولَ خلقِ نعيده وعداً علينا إنَّا كنّا فاعلين” (الأنبياء)٢
وقال تعالى: “وله الكِبرياءُ في السماوات وَالأَرْضِ وهو العزيزُ الحكيم” (الجاثية)٣
Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen explained:
” (Allahuakbar) it’s meaning is that Allah, the Exalted, is greater than everything in respects to His Self, His Names and His Characteristics, and in all that this expression includes in its meaning. Allah said, “And they have appraised Allah with a true (befitting 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. Glorified, Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.” (Surah Zumar)
Allah also said, “The day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a written sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat. That is a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.” (Surah Anbiya)
And Allah the Exalted said, “And to Him belongs all grandeur with the heavens and the earth, and He is the exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Surah Jathiyah)
How can we avert our attention away from The Creator when He is The master Who is perfect in His Mastery; the Great One Who is the perfect in His greatness; the Tolerant One Who is perfect in His toleration, the Omnipotent Who is perfect in His omnipotence; the All-Knowing who is perfect in His Knowledge, the One who is perfect in all types of Nobility and Greatness-that self is only Allah-the Most revered and the Most Powerful.
سبحانك لانُحصي ثناء عليكَ أنتَ كما أَثْنَيتَ على نفْسِكَ
“Glorified are You, we cannot enumerate Your praise. You are exactly as You have praised Yourself.”
أَسأَلُكَ بكلِّ اسْمٍ هو لك: سميت به نفسك، أَوْ أنْزلتهُ في كتابك، أو علمته أحدًا من خلقك، أَوِ اسْتأثرت به في علم الغيب عندَكَ
I ask you through every name by which You have named Yourself or You have revealed Your name or taught someone from amongst Your creation, or kept it with You in the Knowledge of the Unseen
May Allah allow us to attain khushoo in our salaah and allow the prayer to be the coolness of our eyes Ameen.