Upon “Allahu Akbar”
So what really happens at “Allahu Akbar”?
But before we go into what really happens. Have you ever wondered why we start our prayer with “Allahu Akbar”? Why don’t we say “Subhanallah”, for instance? “Allahu Akbar” is the key phrase because with it we affirm that Allah, before Whom we are about to stand, is greater than anything occupying us at that moment. He is greater than our job, greater than our business, greater than our sleep, our bills, our family and our children, greater than all that troubles or preoccupies us. And why do we raise our hands with it? We raise our hands to throw all of that behind us. We raise our hands, as a gesture of complete surrender.
When one stands to pray Allah commands, “Raise the veils from between Me and my servant!” From the instant you proclaim “Allahu Akbar”, Allah now sets His Beautiful Glorious Face to yours ready and engaged, with you. And He doesn’t turn away from you…unless you do - That’s when either you turn away with your head/sight, or drift in heart and mind back to worldly matters. And if you turn or drift, He calls to you: “[you turn] To what is better than I?” and orders for the veils, to draw back down.
When you announce “Allahu Akbar”, imagine that you are before the cameras and the red “ON THE AIR” button has now been switched on. But it is not ordinary people who are watching you, it is The King Himself. In His hands is everything you are and everything you will ever be. In His hands is the entire universe, running in perfect order. Nothing, however big or small, escapes His control. How will you stand? Feel your heart race!
Upon “Allahu Akbar” and as we proceed to recite; any bad deeds committed by our faculties suddenly begin to float up…up until they reach our head and shoulders. Subsequently, with every Ruku [bow] and Sujood [prostration] we move to, these sins fall off and away, scattered and gone! [All the more reason for us to hold in those humbling positions longer before our Lord.]
With “Allahu Akbar”, things we were permitted to do just moments before suddenly become forbidden...like food, drink, talk, unnecessary movement. What happened? What is different now? Well, these acts are not befitting of a meeting of this nature. For the servant has answered the call and now stands in humility before his Master. You are on a much higher level now. Focus. Are you still drifting? This is why we repeat these great words, “Allahu Akbar” as we move to each position. It is a reminder, and a new chance to refocus.