Allahu Akbar is probably the most commonly spoken phrase today. There are over a billion Muslims out there and since this is said during each stage of prayer, which is supposed to be performed five times a day, it adds up to being spoken over a billion times a day worldwide, by a conservative estimate. Even if they don't say it, they can also hear it, since it's proclaimed loudly as part of the Azan at mosques.

The phrase is actually short for "Allahu Akbar min kullisay" which means God is greater than everything.

Allahu Akbar translates to "God is greater." (Gritchka says _akbaru_ is an elative form, meaning greater, greatest, or very great.) Greater than what, you say? Well, God is the being who created all existence and things and ideas on earth, right? Muslims leave the phrase unfinished, so whatever you can think of, God is greater than that, too. God is the greatest.

Allahu Akbar!

Besides being an Arabic phrase that means "God is the greatest", Allahu Akbar, is the beginning to the Azan, a common salutation, and the name of the national anthem of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

First off, the salutation is said at the beginning of every Islamic prayer. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah (who also goes by the name Aga Khan III) says,

"Consider for example the opening declaration of every Islamic prayer: "Allah-o-Akbar". What does that mean? There can be no doubt that the second word of the declaration likens the character of Allah to a matrix which contains all and gives existence to the infinite, to space, to time, to the Universe, to all active and passive forces imaginable, to life and to the soul."

Allahu Akbar, the national anthem of Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, was adopted in 1969 with the rise to power of Muammar Qaddafi. Allahu Akbar was written by Abdalla Shams El-Din, and was set to music written by Mahmoud El-Sharif. The lyrics below are in transliterated Libyan Arabic, followed by the English translation.

Allahu Akbar
Allahu Akbar
Allahu Akbar Fauqua Kaidi L'mutadi
Allahu Lilmazlumi Hairumu'ayyidi
Allahu Ana Bilyaqini Wabissilahi Saaftadi
Baladi Wanuru L-haqqi Yastau Fi Yadi
Qulu Mai
Qulu Mai
Allahu Allahu Allahu Akbar
Allahu Fauqa L-mutadi

Ya Hadihi Ddunya Atilli Wa 'Smai
Gaisu L-aadi Ga'a Yabgi Masrai
Bil-haqqi Saufa Fa-saufa Afnihi Mai.

Qulu Mai L-wailu Lil-mustamiri
Wa Llahu Fauqa L-gadiri L-mutagabbiri
Allahu Akbaru Ya Biladi Kabbiri
Wa-hudi Binasiyati L-mugiri Wa-dammiri

And now for the English translation:

God is greatest!
God is greatest!
He is above plots of the aggressors,
And He is the best helper of the oppressed.
With faith and with weapons I shall defend my country,
And the light of truth will shine in my hand.
Sing with me!
Sing with me!
God is greatest!
God is greatest!
God, God, God is greatest!
God is above the aggressors.

O world, look up and listen!
The enemy's army is coming,
Wishing to destroy me.
With truth and with my gun I shall repulse him.

And should I be killed,
I would kill him with me.
Sing with me -
Woe to the Imperialists!
And God is above the treacherous tyrant.
God is greatest!
Therefore glorify Him, O my country,
And seize the forehead of the tyrant
And destroy him!

Translation obtained (with permission) from an ex-node. Some other info was gathered from

The Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar" is commonly translated as "God is great". Yet the actual meaning goes beyond that. "Akbar" is closest to the comparative in English language, e.g., meaning "greater", not "great".

The phrase is not necessarily wrongly, but somewhat unsatisfyingly, translated with attributing the superlative to Allah, as in "God is the greatest" - because that would imply there was some kind of rank to this greatness that compares to us, and our own. Yet "Allahu Akbar" tells you that "God is greater" - greater than any of our finite measures of greatness, greater than what our senses can perceive. This way, the phrase becomes its own response: Whatever you imagine when hearing it, or saying it, whatever your measure or scale, Allahu Akbar.

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