Pearl of Wisdom
when Suma'a b. Mihran asked him about Allah's verse in the Qur'an: So be patient just as the resolute among the apostles were patient, said, 'Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon him, his progeny and them.' [Suma'a said,] I asked, 'How did they become the arch-prophets?' He said, 'Because Noah was sent with a divine book and law (shari'a), and all who came after him adopted Noah's book, law and teachings, until Abraham (AS) came with the Scriptures being commanded to leave Noah's book without disbelieving in it...'
Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq [as]
al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 17, no. 2
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"They shall say: What is it that your Lord said? They shall say: The truth. And He is the Most High, the Great" (Quran, 34:23).
Linguistically, one who is kabeer is a great person, a dignitary, a distinguished personality.
Allah, Glorified and Exalted is His Name, is greater than everything and everyone, and He is the Absolutely Great One, the One Who is Great on His own merits, in His qualities and Essence, above being in any way like any of His creatures;
"There is nothing like Him," the One Who is superior to the praise of any of those who praise, glorify, or attempt to describe Him.
He is the most perfect of anything in existence; the One Who has all the Glory, the Greatness, the Honor and the Sublimity. He is above what the beings He has created conceive Him to be. He is too Great to be described or His actions to be comprehended. The Almighty has said,
He is the High, the Great. (40:12)Proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him). (17:111) And your Lord do magnify. (74:3). To Him belongs greatness in the heavens and the earth. (45:37)
The Almighty has been lauded with characteristics of this sort:
One is al-Kabeer. The other is al-Mutakabbir, the explanation of which has already been dealt with. The third is al-Akbar as in 9:72: "... and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure" (Quran, 9:72), and in 29:45: "... certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest."
But it has not been used in the Holy Quran as a reference to the Almighty, yet it occurs as an Attribute of His in the Sunnah such as our saying: Allahu Akbar! The fourth is al-Kibriya'; Allah has said, "And to Him belongs greatness..." (Quran, 45:37). So, let us discuss these Attributes:
As regarding al-Akbar, there are two ways to look at it: First, He is greater than anything else in existence. It is possible to view the "Allahu Akbar!" which Muslims pronounce audibly when saying their prayers in the same light, meaning that Allah is greater than anyone or anything else; hence, one's mind will not be occupied by anyone or anything else besides Him, nor is his heart attached to anyone or anything else besides Him.
"Allahu Akbar!" is a statement derived from "al-Kabeer" and is pronounced to initiate the obligatory prayers, during the time of rukoo`, sujood or qiyam, that is, when bowing, prostrating or standing during the performance of obligatory prayers. It is called takbeer, Glorification of al-Kabeer, the Great One, the Most Great. Takbeer is required on several occasions such as the athan, iqama, prayers, both feasts, funeral prayers, upon seeing the Ka`ba, throwing the stones [during the pilgrimage], and announcing the time for jihad, holy war. The Messenger of Allah is said to initiate anything of significance with "Allahu Akbar!"
Ibn `Abbas is quoted saying that the Messenger of Allah used to teach his companions a supplication whereby they could shun all ailments and types of fever which said, "In the Name of Allah al-Kabeer; we seek refuge with Allah al-Azeem from the evil of any feverish vein, and from the inferno of hellfire."
The Attribute "al-Kabeer" is repeated five times throughout the text of the Holy Quran.