Remembrance of God is Greater

Allah ﷻ says in the Qur’an:

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ ۖ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ – 29:45

[Prophet], recite what has been revealed to you of the Scripture; keep up the prayer: prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behaviour. Remembering God is greater: God knows everything you are doing.

What does “and certainly the remembrance of God is greater (وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ)” mean? Ibn al-Jawzi said there are four sayings about this:

  1. That Allah’s ﷻ remembrance of you is greater than your remembrance of Him. And Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Saeed ibn Jubayr, and Mujahid said this.
  2. And the remembrance of God is certainly greater than everything other than it. And this was the opinion of Abi Darda’, Salman, and Qataadah.
  3. And the remembrance of Allah Most High in prayer is greater than what He forbade you from fahisha and munkar. Abdullah ibn Awn said this.
  4. And the remembrance of Allah Most High of the servant–what was in his prayer–is greater than the remembrance of the servant to Allah Most High. Ibn Qutaybah said this.

قال ابن الجوزي رحمه الله
” قوله تعالى: (ولذكر الله أكبر) فيه أربعة أقوال:
أحدها: ولذكر الله إياكم ، أكبر من ذكركم إياه ، وبه قال ابن عباس، وعكرمة، وسعيد بن جبير، ومجاهد في آخرين .
والثاني : ولذكر الله تعالى أفضل من كل شيء سواه ، وهذا مذهب أبي الدرداء، وسلمان ، وقتادة .
والثالث : ولذكر الله تعالى في الصلاة ، أكبر مما نهاك عنه من الفحشاء والمنكر، قاله عبد الله بن عون .
والرابع : ولذكر الله تعالى العبد- ما كان في صلاته- أكبر من ذكر العبد لله تعالى، قاله ابن قتيبة ” انتهى من ” زاد المسير”
(3/ 409) .

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