شكر / حمد

kifaru

Senior Member
English
I have a francophone friend who is a more advanced arabic student than I, who insists that in the phrase "al hamdulillah wa shukrillah" the words "al hamdulillah" means "thank god" and that "shukrillah" means the same. I am going on basic common sense and what I have seen in usage but if they both mean the same thing why use the two words in the same formula. My contention is that حمد "hamida" is best translated as " to praise" or "he praises" and شكر "shakara" is best translated as "he thanks" or "to thank" which would render the phrase "praise god and thank god". So, what do the scholars of this board have to say?
 
  • Abu Bishr

    Senior Member
    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Guys

    The main difference between Hamd & Shukr (classically speaking) is that the Hamd is to praise someone verbally whether he /she has done something good for you or not. Shukr on the other hand is to reciprocate a good deed by someone whether verbally or not. In other words, it is showing gratitude or expressing thanks verbally or other wise. I praise (hamd), for example, a student for his model conduct or because he / she has helped me with my schoolwork, whereas I thank (shukr) him / her for having helped me either verbally or otherwise. Moreover, my gratitude or thanks can take various forms: verbal appreciation, presenting a gift, etc.

    In relation to God, we praise (hamd) Him because of all His Good & Perfect Qualities (amongst them being His Generosity) & we thank (shukr) Him because of His Attribute of Generosity, and our thanking Him can take different forms: worshiping Him, serving Him, doing good deeds, etc.

    Therefore, you will always find in the Quran whenever the expression (al-Hamdu lillah) is mentioned the reason for praising God follows almost immediately, for example, All Praise be to God for having guided us or for having revealed the Book (i.e. the Quran) or for having created the Heavens & the Earth or because He is the Lord & Cherisher of the Worlds, etc. This also goes for supplications (du'as).

    In summary, praise can ammount to thanks when we praise someone for having done us a good turn, but should we praise him / her for his / her exellent qualities then it's praise only and not thanks, & should it be that we thank him / her in ways other than a verbal expression then it's thanks only and not praise.

    Two other words that are also used for praise are: مدح (madh) & ثناء (thanaa). The former is often used for praise of the prophet Muhammad(whose named incidentally means 'the oft-praise' from the same root as 'hamd'). Also note that 'madh' shares the same letters as 'hamd' albeit in different order.

    I hope this goes towards a clearer understanding of the terms 'hamd' & 'shukr' which to all intents and purposes are the same as 'praise' & 'thanks' in English.
     

    zooz

    Senior Member
    Arabic & Syrian Arabic
    I tend to agree with you. They don't have the exact meaning.

    حَمَد is to praise or to laud someone/some action.َ

    شَكَرَ is to thank and used to express the gratitude.

    The whole expression is said when the person is thankful or grateful to to God.
     

    kifaru

    Senior Member
    English
    I am so appreciative of everyone's response. By any chance could someone write a response in french so that my friend may read it if you all agree with the response Abu Bishr, Marc and Zooz. Thanks all.
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    IMHO the differences are so minute that I think nothing is lost if we translate them as one, unless something in the context would indicate that the speaker or writter meant each word to have a distinct meaning itself.

    I think all languages do this, i.e. string a pair of synonyms along as thoough repeating the same thing over again. It's done for stylistic reasons, nuance, eloquence, etc.
     
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