الحمد لله رب العالمين
All praise is for Allah—Lord of all worlds (Saheeh International)
I will render this verse as :
All Hamd belongs to Allah, Rabb of the Aalameen
The word Hamd has been translated as 'All praise' by Saheeh international.
Hamd comes from the root ح م د.
Hamd is more than just praise. It has conditions and contains within it the meanings of inner strength,inner peace and nourishment.
Hamd refers to the feelings of appreciation and acknowledgement that arise within a person as a result of deliberate action of somebody which is of benefit to him. (Muhit al Muhit)
This has some conditions. Which are:
1- Hamd is for deliberate willingful actions. If I praised someone for having a beautiful face,it is not Hamd. But if I praised someone for being very hardworking, that is Hamd. (Raghib)
2 - It has to be for something external which we can feel, see and experience. (Muhit al Muhit)
3 - The praise must be something one gives happily of his own accord and will. It is not Hamd if someone is forced to praise the other even if his actions benefit him. (Muhit al Muhit)
4 - One must have complete knowledge of the one he is doing Hamd of. Hamd cannot be done when one only has hazy and imprecise conjecture of the one he is doing Hamd of. (Muhit al Muhit)
Wherever the word Hamd comes in the Quran, it is with the definite article. Because Hamd, which fulfills all these conditions in true meaning of the word only belong to Allah and cannot possibly belong to anyone other than Allah. Every creation is defective. The only entity with no defect is Allah.
We mentioned that Hamd is done on accord of an action that brings good and benefit. What is this good and benefit to be precise? The Mu'jam Al Istiqaaqi has the answer. It says:
Hamd was originally used for food which was healthy and provided strength and nourishment to its eater.
The central meaning of the word Hamd is richness,prosperity and fulfillment inside the body.
The goodness of spiritual and inner strength,inner peace and fulfillment.Richness of the soul. This is the benefit which is being highlighted here.
Richness of the soul and heart can only come from Allah. It is no wonder that the Quran again and again uses the imagiry of rain falling on dead earth, bringing it back to life. The rain is actually the Quran. The dead earth are the hard and dead heart of men. The Quran brings them back to life. Making them healthy, soft and kind.
The Quranic Name of God. There are a number of different opinions on the meaning of this word. Mainly because if the vowel markings on the root are changed, it creates a different meaning. These are the opinions on the root of the name Allah:
1 - The Arabs used to call anything they worshipped Ilaah like the sun, for they used to worship it. So Ilaah means something or someone who is worshipped as God. The definite article before this word makes it 'Allah' meaning the one and only true Ilaah/God. (Raghib, Lisan Al Arab)
Quran says: " So be of knowledge! That there is no Ilaah but Allah..." (47:19)
2 - The root meaning is to become confused, clueless and perplexed. (Raghib, Lisaan Al Arab)
3 - It comes from the root which was used as a verb to seek help, protection and refuge in times of need and desperation. From the usage أله اليه . (Lisaan al Arab)
4 - It comes from the word Wilaah which means passionate and intense love. That is because Allah is the beloved of every being though we deny it outwards but deep inside there is a hole in our hearts which is only filled by the divine. (Raghib, Lisaan Al Arab)
Quran says: "The seven heavens and the earth and that in them exalt Him. There is nothing except that it exalts by His praise (Hamd), but you do not understand their exalting." (17:44)
4 - It comes from the root which means to be high and lofty as well as unseen and hidden from the eyes. From the root (لاه يلوه). (Raghib,Lisaan al Arab).
The Quran says: 'No vision encompasses Him while He encompasses all vision.' (6:103)
4 - The root means brilliant light, loftiness, being unseen but at the same time one can feel the influence of this unseen being. (Mu'jam Al Ishtiqaaqi)
The Quran says: " The Rahman! Above the throne established.." (20:5)
The Quran affirms all these meanings for God in different places. So Allah is the entity who :
The refuge of the needy. Who everyone looks to in time of need and help. The caretaker of everyone.
Who the mind is unable to comprehend fully.
The most high and most powerful entity of all.
Hidden from the eyes but whose influence is visible.
'Rabb' is translated as 'Lord' by Saheeh International.
This word comes from the root ر ب ب .
This root was used for a drink which was heated untill half of it evaporated but that which remained behind was pure. Meaning all impurities were removed from it.
The linguistic meaning of the root is to harden something soft until it holds together on its own so that it can employed for use and some benefit can be gained from it. (Mu'jam Al Ishtiqaaqi)
The drink whose half was evaporated,had its impurities removed from it. Similiarly,something which is soft and melting is hardened untill it holds together on its own so that its defect was removed. So the outstanding meaning of this root is purification and removing flaws.(Mu'jam Al Ishtiqaaqi)
So Rabb is someone who looks after something. Nourishes it and removes its flaws from it, leading it to completion and perfection so that it can be of benefit as the flaws were holding it back. And so this word Rabb/رب became synanomous with Master, Lord, Manager, Overseer, Caretaker etc. (Lisaan al Arab)
This root was used in the following ways:
1 - Bringing up children.As in رب الولد .
2 - Rectifying things or matters and making amends.
3 - Gathering things together in a bundle with each other in a large number. Therefore,a case in which a large number of spears were collected with each other was called Ribabah/ربابة which is from the same root. Because growth occurs in stages and overtime. Passing from one stage to another but every stage is connected to the next just as the spears are collected overtime and joined with each other in a bundle.
4- Making something beautiful,pleasant and good scented. Hence it was used as a verb for making a smelly oil good scented (ربَ الدهن).
5 - For plants which do not wilt in different seasons. Rather they remain healthy and green thoughout all seasons. They were called رِبّة .
6 - A piece of land with a lot of plants and trees. It was called مرب.
7 - Sweet water which got collected in one place. It was called ربِب.
8 - For a promise or agreement. Because by means of a promise or an agreement,one gets joined with another. Just as one step leads to another as if joined with each other. This was called رَبِيبة.(Muheet al Muheet)
Overall, the root meaning of the Arabic word "رب" is related to the idea of someone who nourishes, sustains, provides for, and has power or authority over others.
The word Aalameen has been translated as 'Worlds' by Saheeh International. It is the plural of the word Aalam/عالم
It comes from the root ع ل م .
This word literally means "something by means of which one gains the knowledge of a thing.' (Raghib)
The root of this word is Ilm/علم,which means knowledge.
In arabic, from a single root, we get different patterns which are used for different meanings. Each pattern has its own specific meaning.
The pattern this word follows is Fa'al/فاعل which is used for instruments.
So Aalam/عالم is an intrument by means of which Ilm/علم or knowledge is gained.
So for example, if someone wants to learn Islam, a scholor will be someone by means of whom he gains knowledge of Islam. So that scholor, is an Aalam. If someone wants to learn physics,a physics book or a physics scholor will be his Aalam.
Ibn Abbas said that what is meant by Aalameen in this verse is Mankind and Jinn.
Mankind and Jinn are signs of Allah through whom one can gain knowledge of Allah and come to know him.
Concise Commentary on the Verse:
All praise and gratitude belong to Allah from whom alone comes all good especially spiritual and inner purification, nourishment, strength and inner peace. The all powerful, most high entity, who protects and answers those reach out to him and the only one worthy of being worshipped.
Though we cannot see Allah we can feel his influence. And the most prominent good, benefit and influence that we see, feel and receive from him is Allah being our Rabb - our caretaker, sustainer and kind master , giving us outer and inner beauty by curing us of our defects and flaws that were harming us. And he does so, as it will come later in this Surah, by means of his guidance, the Quran.
This good will be emphasized and mentioned in verse 6 when we pray to Allah to bring this good to us. When we ask him to guide us to the 'clear and easy path.'
Rather than saying Rabb of Mankind and Jinn in the verse, he called them Aalameen, pointing out that we are special and different from other creations. In Surah 13 : 26 - 28, Allah calls those who are guided and whose hearts find rest in his remembrance, his signs. When someone is purified by means of the Quran, he becomes a sign of Allah, by means of which others are guided and receive benefit and are led to Allah.