Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

What “Allahu Akbar” Really Means

In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

It is a very common Islamophobe claim that the phrase, “Allahu Akbar” is the “Muslim battle cry.” They base this claim on the fact that many Muslim extremists yell out “Allahu Akbar” before their acts of barbarism. Indeed, that does happen. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

First, the word “Allahu Akbar” means “God is the Greatest.” It was not the “Muslim battle cry” at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), although it is almost certain that many Muslims have used the phrase in that manner. In fact, in many of the protests of the Arab Spring, the peaceful, unarmed protesters yelled out that very phrase, “Allahu Akbar,” while being shot at by security forces.


Yet, “Allahu Akbar” is more than just a phrase; it is a way of life. It means that God is Greater than anything else on earth: whether it be a vicious tyrant shooting and killing his own people or from one’s own evil whims and temptations.

Before the Muslim enters the ritual prayer, she must utter “Allahu Akbar” out loud. Once she does that, she enters into the Divine Presence. That is because, at that moment, she leaves the entire world behind in order to offer the ritual prayer. Thus, “God is the Greatest.” In the course of a day, Muslims will utter this phrase, “Allahu Akbar,” at least seventeen times, one for each ritual prayer cycle. Yet, there are many Muslims who utter with their mouths “God is the Greatest,” and their actions belie those sacred words.


Take the barbarian extremists who kill in the name of God. If they yell “God is the Greatest” in celebration of an attack that kills innocent human beings, they lie in the worst manner. Their act of murder precisely declares that God is not the greatest to them. For, if God was truly the greatest, they would not harm any innocent life. If a Muslim merchant prays five times a day and utters “Allahu Akbar” seventeen times, yet cheats his customers, then God is truly not the greatest to that merchant. If a Muslim citizen cheats on his income tax return, then God is truly not the greatest to that citizen.

In fact, the ritual acts of worship are connected directly to the character of the believer. Take this Prophetic report (reported in Muslim):


The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, asked, “Do you know who the bankrupt are?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” So the Prophet said, “The bankrupt are those from my nation who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting, and charity, but comes also insulting, slandering, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. They will each be given from his good deeds; if his good deeds run out before the score is settled, their bad deeds will be cast upon him, then he will be thrown into the Hellfire.

All those good works, done in gratitude to God for His undying and unending love for us, will mean nothing on Judgment Day if they are not accompanied by good character. For, if God was truly the greatest to someone, then he would not treat God’s creations – humanity, animals, and the natural world – with contempt and brutality. It can be difficult sometimes, to do the right thing. Yet, that is the true meaning of Jihad: the struggle to overcome our own temptations and whims in order to do what God wants of us. But we do that precisely because “Allahu Akbar”: God is the Greatest.



  • RogueWino

    While it’s understood that Muslims recognize only one ‘god’ who goes by the proper name of ‘Allah’, and any other ‘gods’ one might believe in simply do not exist. However, these are not actually the same word, ‘god’ and ‘Allah’.

    Nor does the common (mis) translation the shahada make any sense when translated as ‘there is no god but god’. What it actually says is: ‘There is no god but Allah’…and Mohammed is His prophet. A negligible difference, if at all to most muslims, but important to non-muslims because it neatly demonstrates how muslims do not even dignify the idea that someone might worship a different god or gods.

    In the same vein, ‘Allahu Akbar’ doesn’t mean ‘God is great, greater or greatest’. It means ‘Allah is greatest’. And by the way, your ‘god’ is not.

    Left unsaid is, if there is indeed a supernatural power, why it only makes sense that there would be only one, rather than multiple deities. Not to mention that the level of veneration accorded to Mohammed is Christ-like.

  • Dan Livingstone

    No, i dont want to be sucked into a debate with people who decide the answers for themselves based on flying wizards whilst they sneer at science and progress. Religion holds us all down, holds us all back and holds us all apart.

  • Dan Livingstone

    Spreading lies, its all bulllshit. People who spread religion are the cause of the deaths. Your bigotted rules and ways which you wont change, your books that call for murder you wont censor. You deserve no respect!

  • Dan Livingstone

    LOL! I just called a Muslim with a ganesha avatar! This place is wild!!! Get some culture! Mongs!

  • Lisa Ragan

    Marc is not an embarrassment to Christians, he speaks love,and truth something you,and Muslims know nothing of!

  • George Lewter Jr.

    Let a Muslim shout Allahu Akbar to me and I will put a pig blood soak bullet between his/her eyes.

  • Dan Livingstone

    He who is compelled to act out of fear and not love, should consider if there is any reward for his act.

  • Dan Livingstone

    Dan Marc your an embarrasment to christians. By forcing your idea onto others who dont beleive what you do, you just showed a whole load of charity, compassion and understanding, didnt you. What a great example you are for your sky wizard. Someone forgot to turn the other cheek, or forbid not a man to perform his miracle in Gods name. Please study your religion before you come out to battle with the Muslims. Shame this had to be taught to you by an Athiest.

  • Sakib Arifin

    Charity is obligatory upon muslims.if you want to debate about islam and Christianity than i would be happy to do so.

  • peace

    Very clear.

  • peace

    It is not because you claim that you are a muslim you truly are. A true muslims follow and live with the words of ALLAH which is to do good deeds.those who did bad things but claimed a muslim will also punished by not following his teachings. So with the other people who claimed to be good but do evil things.hope this help u clear ur heart and mind.

  • jenesuispascharlie

    Lol didn’t you read what the guy up there wrote?

  • dan marc

    No genuine charity comes without righteous character. Islam knows nothing of this because it knows nothing of the pure love of Jesus Christ – which is charity. Charity is giving. Islam only takes. The essence and purpose of Islam is to eliminate all things non-Islam. Islam sabotages and destroys wherever it is – especially in Islamic countries. Islam is a wolf disguised as a lamb hiding in linen. Islam only oppresses. It does not liberate. Only Islam makes war on innocents a crusade. Only Islam makes war in the name of religion. There is no love in Islam. There is no righteousness in Islam. There is no outcry against evil in Islam. God has no dealings with Islam. Islam is an abomination to God.

  • Anonymous

    thank you, because Allahu Akbar, i truly believe that, and i just wish everyone did the same, as a revert of the last three years i have finally found why Allahu Akbar, Assalamu Alaikum.

  • Hesham A. Hassaballa

    Blessings to you. Thank you very much.

  • Anonymous

    Very well written. Amen

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