There is nothing that does not exalt (tasbih) Him with hamd (evaluation of the corporeal worlds created with His Names, as He wills)! But you do not perceive their functions! Indeed, He is the Halim, the Ghafur.
Everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies (tasbih) Allah (through fulfilling their functions). HU is the Aziz, the Hakim.
All perceivable and unperceivable things in the universe have been created to engage in the exaltation through the observation (tasbih) of Allah. Whether good or bad, beautiful or ugly, perfect or imperfect!
So, let us try and understand the verses above in this light:
The limitless infinite beings under the scope of what is denoted by ‘Throne’ (Arsh) are all compositions of the Names of Allah manifesting divine meanings.
‘Rahman establishing His sovereignty on the Arsh’ points to the reality that existence is a product of the materialization of the qualities denoted by the Names of Allah, i.e. it has come about to manifest the meanings of the divine names… All forms are instances of the Grace of Allah.
Thus, every ‘thing’, in respect of being the cause of disclosure for Allah’s names, is constantly and at every moment rotating around the divine meaning that composes it. This is what ‘tasbih’ essentially means!
In other words, all things, by way of manifesting the meaning of the name it’s comprised of, is inevitably in servitude to Allah, and this servitude is its tasbih.
This type of tasbih is referred to as non-arbitrary, it is the first way. The second way is arbitrary. Arbitrary tasbih can be carried out in two ways, either by imitation or by enquiry. Tasbih by imitation is when one applies the recommended formulas by repeating certain words without really being conscious of their meaning. Doing this will strengthen the person’s spirit and provide much benefit in the various stages of their afterlife, such as the dimension of the grave, the place of resurrection, when crossing the bridge of Sirat and in Paradise!
As for tasbih by enquiry, this is when the person has made the necessary enquiry and consciously acquired the meanings of what is uttered. As a result, not only is the person strengthened in spirit, but also, through the meanings of the words he utters, he inspirationally and insightfully begins to understand Allah within his essence in much greater depth.
During all of these practices, however, one should always be mindful of the fact that contemplating Allah’s Absolute Essence (dhat) is not possible as He is ever beyond anything that is perceivable or thinkable.
Now, I would like to provide some recommended tasbihs…
سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ
Subhaana L-Llahi wa bihamdihi
Allah is Subhan with his Hamd (I exalt Allah and exempt Allah through observation, knowing that evaluating His universal perfection (hamd) belongs only to Him! As there is no other, Allah is the evaluator of Himself.)
There are two hadith regarding this tasbih. The Rasul of Allah (saw) says:
“Whoever says ‘Subhaana L-Llahi wa bihamdihi’ a hundred times a day their sins and mistakes, even if as much as the foam of the oceans, will be cleansed and forgiven.”
One day the Rasul (saw) asked his companions:
“Shall I tell you the word Allah loves most?”
“Please tell us, O Rasul of Allah” they said.
“The word that is dearest to Allah is ‘Subhaana L-Llahi wa bihamdihi’.”
سُبْحَانَ ﷲِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ عَدَدَ خَلْقِهِ وَرِضَٓاءَ نَفْسِهِ وَزِنَةَ عَرْشِهِ وَمِدَادَ كَلِمَاتِهِ
Subhaana L-Llahi wa bihamdihi `adada khalqihi wa ridaa’a nafsihi wa zinata arshihi wa midaada kalimaatihi
I exalt (through HIS observation) and exempt (tanzih) Allah (from my limited understanding) with His evaluation, to the quantity of His creations, to the fullness of His pleasure, to the weight of His Throne and the ink of His words.
One day, after completing the fajr salat, the Rasul of Allah (saw) left Juwayriyya (ra) and went away. When he came back mid-morning he found Juwayriyya (ra) in the same spot still engaged in tasbih. He asked, “Have you been doing tasbih since I left you until now?” Juwayriyya answered, “Yes”. Upon this, the Rasul said, “After I left you I repeated four short sentences three times, if they were out on a scale they would weigh heavier than the tasbih you’ve been doing. These four sentences are:
Subhaana L-Llahi wa bihamdihi `adada khalqihi wa ridaa’a nafsihi wa zinata arshihi wa midaada kalimaatihi.
سُبْحَانَ ﷲِ وَالْحَمْدُ ِللهِ وَلٓا اِلٰهَ اِلَّاﷲُ وَﷲُ أَكْبَرُ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللهِ الْعَلِىِّ الْعَظِيمِ
Subhaana L-Llah wa-l hamdulillah wa laa ilaha illa l-Llahu wa Llahu akbar wa la hawla wa la quwatta iilla bi-l Llahil `aliyyil Adheem
Subhanallah: Allah is Subhan (beyond being conditioned by existence and anything other than…)
Alhamdulillah: Hamd (absolute evaluation) is one that is in the scope of the name Allah, thus it pertains to the One denoted by the name Allah…
La ilaha illa Allah: Nothing exists other than the One denoted by the name Allah!
Allahu akbar: Allah is great! He can never be perceived or evaluated by a being other than Himself and He can never be conditioned or limited by any evaluation, attribute, quality, etc.
Wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil aliyyil Adheem: All strength (motion, action, transformation and state of tasbih) and power (with which this is carried out) is with Allah, the Aliy (the unsurpassable sublime, the One who destroys the assumption of an ‘other’ from whom He wills) the Azim (the One whose Might none can surpass)!