Reclaiming Allah Hu Akbar

Its funny, the last time I felt the need to ‘Reclaim Allah Hu Akbar” it was again because Richard Dawkins, a famous evolutionist biologist is renowned for his views on religion and non- religion, tweeted something plain offensive-  “Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding ‘Allahu Akhbar.’ Or is that just my cultural upbringing?”


This time, it regards to the attack in France. First relating the attack to Islam in a sarcastic manner and then continuing to patronise those who defend the view that terror attacks are un-islamic by implying Muslims justify or reason these attacks on ‘Western racist imperialised economic oppression’

Thank you, once again Dawkins for causing publically relating our call to prayer to a terror attack, and not the other 100 plus times a day it may be used.

Contrary to belief, Allahu Akbar is not a war cry, it actually means, “God is greater” and is used often by Muslims in times of joy, gratitude and content.

Common moments of use are when you hear there has been a birth of a baby; it is the first words that are spoken into a new born baby’s ears, indicating gratitude for something you would not have otherwise been able to achieve without the power of God.

Other occasions may be when your taxi is on its way and as you are brought a plate of food at your favourite restaurant.

But reports by Muslims worldwide show that the uses of Allahu Akbar do not stop there, one Muslim wrote that, one mundane evening, the wildlife programme, called Blue Planet, narrated by the inspirational David Attenborough, showed “A shiny silver coral known as Venus’s flower basket, which lives several miles down in the bottom of an ocean trench. Living inside this sponge were two shrimp who had crawled in when they were young but were now too big to crawl back out the same way they came in. These shrimp, one male and one female, had mated and the female was now pregnant. You could clearly see it was carrying several eggs.”

The male wildlife enthusiast describes watching the documentary in utter amazement, so much so that he found himself involuntarily saying “Allahu Akbar.”

Allahu Akbar means God is the greatest, is used in a similar manner to Halleluiah is often reground Muslims by reminding us that no matter what happens, good, or bad, God is greater than it, and so our love should for him would be greater than worldly items.

Even the CNN news anchor Jake tapper said the phrase was, “Sometimes said under the most beautiful of circumstances.”

Muslims do not associate this term with terror, because this versatile Arabic phrase is used not only by 1.6 billion Muslims globally, but also by the Arab Greek Orthodox and other Arab Christians.  We must reclaim the phrase we use so commonly for what it is, a reminder of our humility, and God’s greatness.

We mustn’t allow terrorists or agendas of fear to own any of the words, concepts, or devotions found in the sacred text of a quarter of the world’s population. That would give them exactly what they want. And God is far greater than the ugliness committed in His name. “Allahu Akbar…” – Imam Omar Suleiman



















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