Alhamdulillah is an Arabic word, which is also called Tamid in the native Arabic language. The word means "praise be to God," at times interpreted as "thanks to God," and is used by Muslims of every region and backgrounds. Alhamdulillah was adopted from the first verse of a holy Islamic book called the Quran (Al-Fatiha), the words of Prophet Muhammad. However, the word is also used by Jewish and Christians who speak the Arabic language.
The Three Parts of Alhamdulillah
Alhamdulillah can sub-divided into three parts, Al, Hamdu, and Li-llah. Each of these elements has the specific meaning, for instance, Al is an article "the", Hamdu can be interpreted literally to mean "praise" or "commendation." Finally, Li-llah contains two parts of speech, a preposition (Li) and a noun (Allah) which means "Allah." The word Allah uniquely says, God. The article (the) is used the same way as in the English language to single out the noun showing that he (Allah) is the Supreme Being, a one of a kind "God." Muslims and Arabic speakers frequently use the word Allah; for this overuse of the word (by more than one subgroups), it was coined to Hamdala. It is found in notable Islamic names including Muhammad, Mahmud, and Ahmad.
When we translate Alhamdulillah to English it has several versions of meaning. For instance, we could convert it to, "all praise is due to God alone." Alhamdulillah also means "all thanks and praises be to Allah." Finally, the translation of Alhamdulillah can also be "praise be to Allah."
Uses of Alhamdulillah in Historical Sources
A writer by the name Jabir ibn Abd-Allah wrote in his Hadith that the best way to remember God is to chant la ilaha illa llah and the best prayer is the Alhamdulillah. Abu Huraira also wrote that according to Muhammad, any prayer that excludes the word Alhamdulillah is a defective prayer. On the other hand, Anas bin Malik stated that according to Muhammad, God is pleased with a slave who gives thanks by using the word Alhamdulillah every time he or she takes a drink at any time of eating.
Several Islamic greetings use the phrase Alhamdulillah. For instance, when a Muslim meets another Muslim, the greeting would be salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuhu which means "may the blessings, mercy, and peace of Allah shower upon you." The reply would be wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu meaning "and may the peace, blessings, and mercy of Allah be upon you."
When one sneezes, the reaction is to say Alhamdulillah which can mean "all praise is due to God alone" and the reply by the rest is yah hamuk Allah meaning "may Allah have mercy on you."
When one wants to sleep, they say Bismika Allahumma amutu wa ahyaa meaning "oh Allah in your name I live and die."
To express sorrow when somebody passes away, one says Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun, to mean "to Allah we belong and to Him we return."