AsSalaamu alaykom wr wb Mawlana(q), Hajjah(q) and all,
Sayyidi, seeking your forgiveness, what is the meaning of “Ameen”? Where does it come from?
wa `alaykum salam,
Qadi al-Baydawi (Allah have mercy on him) said in his great Tafsir entitled Anwar al-Tanzil wa-Asrar al-Ta’wil:
<<Aameen is a noun for the verb “Do answer” (istajib). It is related that Ibn `Abbas (Allah be well-pleased with him and his father) said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah (upon him blessings and peace) about its meaning and he said, ‘Do’.”(1) It has an indeclinable fatha case ending (mabni `ala al-fath) like ayna [where], due to the meeting of two quiescent consonants (iltiqa’ al-saakinayn). Its initial alif comes both as long (aameen) and short (ameen). The poet said:
and may Allah have mercy on a slave who says aameenaa (2)
ameena! then Allah increased our mutual estrangement.(3)
<<It is not part of the Qur’an by general agreement, but it is a sunnah to conclude the surah with it per his statement (upon him blessings and peace): “Gibril taught me to say aameen once I finished reciting the Fatiha”(4). He also said, “It is like the seal over the book”(5). In the same vein `Ali (Allah be well-pleased with him) said: “Aameen is the seal of the Lord of the worlds, He has sealed with it his servant’s supplication”(6). The imam says it, pronouncing it aloud in the loud prayer per the narration from Wa’il b. Hujr that he (upon him blessings and peace) used to say aameen after reciting wa-la-d-daalleen, and he would raise his voice saying it”(7). From Abu Hanifa (Allah be well-pleased with him) it is related that the imam does not say it, but the famous position related from him is that he does say it silently, as narrated from `Abd Allah b. Mughaffal and Anas.(8) The follower says aameen together with him per his saying (upon him blessings and peace): “When the imam says wa-la-d-daalleen, let all of you say aameen, for the angels do say aameen and whosoever’s aameen coincides with that of the angels, all his past sins are forgiven.”(9)>>
(1) Narrated by al-Tha`labi in his Tafsir, a very weak-chained hadith per Ibn Hajar in al-Kafi cf. al-Munawi, Fath (1:106 §9).
(2) A poetic verse taken from Diwan Majnun Layla, its first hemistich being O my Lord! do not deprive me of her love—ever! (Suyuti, Nawahid al-Abkar, his supercommentary on al-Baydawi)
(3) Spoken by Khabir b. al-Adbat who had asked Fut-hul for a mount and was denied his request, its first hemistich being Fut-hul went far from me for my asking him. (Suyuti, Nawahid)
(4) Something similar is narrated in mursal mode [missing the Companion-link in the chain of transmission] from the Successor Abu Maysara by Ibn Abi Shayba in the book of salat of his Musannaf, 26 vols., ed. Muhammad `Awwama (Beirut: Dar Qurtuba, 1428/2006) 5:311 §8044.
(5) Narrated as a saying of the Companion Abu Zuhayr al-Numayri by Abu Dawud in his Sunan (Salat, al-ta’min wara’ al-imam) and al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir (22:296-297 §756) with a fair chain per al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur (1:17).
(6) Narrated by al-Tabarani only from Abu Hurayra, from the Prophet in al-Du`a’, 3 vols., ed. Muhammad Sa`id al-Bukhari (Beirut: Dar al-Basha’ir al-Islamiyya, 1407/1987) 2:889 §219 with a weak or very weak chain cf. al-Munawi, Fath (1:109 §12).
(7) Narrated through Sufyan al-Thawri in the Sunan and Musnad with a fair chain per Ibn Hajar in the Kafi (p. 8 §6). The same is also authentically related from Abu Hurayra cf. al-Munawi, Fath (1:111-112). On the other hand, Shu`ba narrates, also from Wa’il, that the Prophet remained silent but al-Bayhaqi said: “I know of no dissent among the people of learning that when Sufyan and Shu`ba differ, the chosen position is that of Sufyan.” Ibn Farah al-Lakhmi, Mukhtasar Khilafiyyat al-Bayhaqi, 5 vols., ed. Dhayab `Abd al-Karim `Aql (Ryadh: Maktabat al-Rushd, 1417/1997) 2:64.
(8) This ascription is reduplicated from al-Zamakhshari’s Kashshaf and is unheard of according to al-Zayla`i, Ibn Hajar and Abu Zur`a al-`Iraqi; rather, the silent aameen is related from others: `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud in al-Tabarani’s Mu`jam al-Kabir (9:301-302 §9304); `Umar and `Ali in al-Tabari’s Tahdhib al-Aathaar according to Ibn al-Turkmani in al-Jawhar al-Naqi fīl-Radd `ala al-Bayhaqi (2:48, 2:58) printed in the margins of al-Bayhaqi’s Sunan al-Kubra, 10 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d., repr. of the ed. published in Hyderabad, 1344-57/1925-1938).
(9) Narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Bukhari and Muslim. “The wording in al-Jurjani’s (d. 408/1017) Amali bears the addition ‘and his future ones,’ and al-Ghazzali relied on the latter wording in al-Wasit” (Suyuti, Nawahid). Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (2:265) showed it as an aberrant addition.
Hajj Gibril Haddad