Allahu Akbar: What Does It Really Mean?
By Tariq Haroon Malik, USA,
Nowadays, Allahu Akbar, meaning ‘God is Great’, is so misunderstood around the world that it is often attributed to acts of violence and terrorism.
Yet Muslims hear Allahu Akbar differently: as an expression of love. Why? Because Allahu Akbar is how the Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, which is repeated five times a day, starts off. The incorrect understanding of Allahu Akbar is one of the greatest and most common misconceptions about Islam.
Today, The Review of Religions has released a new YouTube social experiment called ‘#IAmAMuslim Listen to My Song’ in which we performed the Adhan for people on the streets while traveling across the United States. This social experiment not only displays the beauty of Islam but also its universal appeal. Even people who did not know the words of the Adhan felt its impact.
Indeed, God, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, the One who Created all of us, the One who loves us whether or not we love Him or even believe in Him, is Great. Watch the video to hear all about the Adhan, its meaning and how people react to it.
Our goal was to share the pearls hidden in the words of the Adhan, regardless of how people perceived us. To our surprise, we got plenty of love, peace and support. But this was not always the case: sometimes, we were also frowned upon, ignored and abused verbally. When the times were rough, we turned to the words of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), the fifth Caliph and Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for inspiration. In this day and age, no one can match the love and passion His Holiness possesses to defend Islam and its Founder, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). So we wanted to follow the footsteps of our Caliph, defending Islam and its beautiful teachings.
Brief Background of the ‘Listen to My Song’ Project
After the massive success of our ‘#IAmAMuslim, Ask Me Anything’ social experiment in 2016, we set out to plan another adventure. Syed Amer Safir, Chief Editor and Manager of The Review of Religions, shared his vision for this project while Zubair Hayat, Head of Design and Video Production; Shahzad Ahmed, Associate Editor, and I worked together to execute it.
After months of planning, brainstorming and scheduling, and four weeks of travel across the United States, we are pleased to present this video, to allow others to see Allahu Akbar not as words to be wary of, but rather as a proclamation of love to a Gracious God, a spiritual call to prayer and worship, and an invitation to peace.
About the Author: Tariq Haroon Malik has a bachelors degree in Islamic Studies from the Ohio State University and now works for The Review of Religions as North & South American Coordinator.