What Does “Ameen” Mean?

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

Introduction

At the end of reciting surat al-Fatiha in prayer and after supplications (du’a), we say “amin/ameen.” What does this word mean?

Apparently this word is a Semitic word, perhaps originates from Hebrew, and is not an Arabic word and is not found in the Qur’an, but it is found in hadith encouraging us to say ameen after surat al-Fatiha:

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘When the reciter says Amin, then say: “Amin” too, for the angels say Amin and if a person’s Amin coincides with the Amin of the angels, Allah will forgive his previous sins.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i 925]

There is another hadith with a weak chain narrated by Abu Hurairah:
آمينَ خاتَمُ ربِّ العالمينَ على لِسانِ عبادِهِ المؤمنينَ
“Ameen is the seal (khatam) of the Lord of the Worlds on the tongue of His believing servants.”

Another narration with a weak chain narrated by ibn Abbas states:

ما حسَدَتْكمُ اليَهودُ على شيءٍ ما حسَدَتْكم على (آمينَ)؛ فأكثِروا مِن قَولِ: آمينَ.
الراوي:عبدالله بن عباس المحدث:ابن حجر العسقلاني المصدر:الفتوحات الربانية الجزء أو الصفحة:2/231 حكم المحدث:سنده فيه ضعف
The Jews are not more jealous of you about anything than the “ameen,” so increase the “ameen” in your speech.

Etiology and Arabic Lexicons

Almaany informs us that it basically means, “Allah, answer the supplication.” The same is for many other Arabic dictionaries in lexicon searches: “اللّهمَّ استجبْ” meaning “oh Allah, answer” and telling us that we say it after surat al-Fatiha and after supplications. Some dictionaries say this is a Divine Name.

Lisan al-Arab informs us of possibly deeper meanings:

قولهم في الدعاء “أمين” أنه اسم من أسماء الله بمعنى المؤمن أن بالفتح بمعنى التعليل، ومعناه يا أمين استجب، ورده النووي إذ لم يثبت بالقرآن والسنة المتواترة، وأسماؤه لا تثبت بدونهما. نه: لا تسبقني “بأمين” لعل بلالاً كان يقرأ الفاتحة في السكتة الأولى من سكتتي الإمام فربما يبقى عليه منها شيء ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قد فرغ من قراءتها فاستمهله بلال في التأمين بقدر ما يتم فيه بقية السورة حتى ينال بركة موافقته في التأمين. ط: إذا “أمن” الإمام “فأمنوا” فإنه من وافق عطف على محذوف أي فإن الملائكة تؤمن فمن وافق، والمراد الحفظة، وقيل غيرهم، فإن الإمام علة لترتب الجزاء على الشرط.

My translation: They say that “ameen” in supplication is a name of the Names of Allah with the meaning al-Mu’min. It opens the meaning of hoping for an answer, and it means “oh Ameen answer.” al-Nawawi replies that it is not established by the Quran and mutawatir sunnah, and this being a Divine Name is not established outside of them both either.

والتَّأْمينُ: قولُ آمينَ. وفي حديث أَبي هريرة: أَن النبي،

صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: آمين خاتَمُ ربِّ العالمين على عباده المؤمنين؛

قال أَبو بكر: معناه أَنه طابَعُ الله على عبادِه لأَنه يَدْفعُ به عنهم

الآفات والبَلايا، فكان كخاتَم الكتاب الذي يَصُونه ويمنع من فسادِه

وإظهارِ ما فيه لمن يكره علمه به ووُقوفَه على ما فيه. وعن أَبي هريرة أَنه

قال: آمينَ درجةٌ في الجنَّة؛ قال أَبو بكر: معناه أَنها كلمةٌ يكتَسِبُ

بها قائلُها درجةً

في الجنة.

My translation: And the saying of Ameen: In a hadith from Abi Hurayrah: That the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “ameen is a seal of the Lord of the Worlds on His believing servants.” Abu Bakr said: It means the stamp of Allah on His servants because He repels from them by it the plague and tribulations, it was like the seal of the book which preserves it and prevents its corruption and and the showing of it to those who dislike knowing what is in it and stopping what is in it. And from Abi Hurayrah that he said: Ameen is a rank in Jennah. Abu Bakr said: It means that it is a word that the speaker earns a rank of Jennah by it.

And Allah ta’ala knows best. These are just dictionaries and I am not sure how sound the above information is.

Jewish Sources

The Talmud (Shevuot and Sanhedrin) gives us three meanings of ameen:

Sanhedrin:

What is the meaning of the term amen? Rabbi Ḥanina says: It is an acronym of the words: God, faithful King [El Melekh ne’eman]. 2

Shevuot:

Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says with regard to the term amen: There is an element of oath within it, there is an element of acceptance of the statement and agreement within it, and there is an element of confirmation of the statement, i.e., that he believes and prays that the statement will be fulfilled, within it. 10

The Gemara elaborates: There is an element of oath within it, as it is written: “And the priest shall administer an oath to the woman…and the woman shall say: Amen, amen” (Numbers 5:21–22). “Amen” is the oath that the woman takes. 11

There is an element of acceptance of the statement within it, as it is written: “Cursed is he who shall not confirm the matters of this Torah to perform them; and all the people shall say: Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:26), expressing their agreement to fulfill all the matters of the Torah. 12

There is an element of confirmation of the statement within it, as it is written: “And Jeremiah the prophet said: Amen, may the Lord do so; may the Lord uphold your statement” (Jeremiah 28:6). 13

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