In The Name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful
We say Amin after we recite surah Al-Fatihah after we make dua and when people make dua for us or someone else. But what does Amin (Ameen) mean?
I was reading tafsir Al-Qurtubi, and here is what he has written about saying Amin (Ameen):
There are eight points connected to Amin (Ameen).
It is Sunnah for the reciter of the Qur’an to say amin when he finishes the Fatihah, after a moment of silence following the nun of dallin to distinguish what is part of the Qur’an from what is not part of it.
It is established in primary sources from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘When the imam says amin, say amin. If someone’s amin coincides with that of the angels, he will be forgiven his past wrong actions.’ Our scholars say that forgiveness of wrong actions is dependent on four conditions which are contained in this hadith.
The first is the imam saying amin, the second is those with him saying amin, the third is the amin of the angels, and the fourth is the coinciding of the amins. Some say that the coinciding refers to the answer, some say that it is about the time, and some say that it is about sincerity in supplication as is made clear by the words of the Prophet (PBUH), ‘Call on Allah and be certain of the answer. Know that Allah does not answer the supplication of a heedless negligent heart.’
Abu Dawud related that Abu Musabbah al-Maqrani said, ‘We used to sit with Abu Zuhayr an-Namiri, one of the Companions, and he related the best statement about this. When one of us made a supplication, he said, “End it with amin. Amin is like the seal on a page.” Abu Zuhayr continued, “Shall I tell you how I know that? One night we went out with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and came to a man who was intense in asking [of Allah]. The Prophet (PBUH) stood listening to him and said, “It is guaranteed if he seals it.”
Someone there asked him, “With what is it sealed?” He answered, “With amin. If he seals it with amin, it is guaranteed.” The man who asked the Prophet (PBUH) went to the man and asked, “Did you seal it, so-and-so” and he gave him the good news.’ Ibn Abd al-Barr said, ‘The name of Abu Zuhayr an-Namiri was Yahya ibn Nufayr. He related from the Prophet (PBUH): Do not kill locusts. They are the greatest army of Allah.'”
Wahb ibn Munabbih said Amin consists of four letters. Allah creates an angel from every letter which says, “O Allah, forgive the one who said amin!'” In a report, we also find Jibril taught me amin when I finished the Fatihah of the Book and said that it is like a seal on the Book.’ We find in another hadith: ‘Amin is the seal of the Lord of the worlds.’ Al-Harawi said that Abu Bakr said, ‘Its meaning is that Allah puts a seal on His servants because by it He averts from their ruin and afflictions.
So it is like the seal of the book which protects it and prevents it from being ruined and showing what it contains.’ We find in another hadith: ‘Amin is a degree in the Garden.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘It means that it is a letter by which the one who utters it obtains a degree in the Garden.’
The meaning of amin according to the people of knowledge is: ‘O Allah, give us an answer!’ which acts as a kind of supplication. Some people say that it is one of the Names of Allah. That is related from Ja’far ibn Muhammad, Mujahid, and Hilal ibn Yasaf. Ibn Abbas is also said to have related it from the Prophet (PBUH), but the transmission is not sound.
Ibn al-Arabi said that as well. it is said that the meaning of amin is ‘Let it be like that.’ Al-Jawahari said that. Al-Kalbi related from Abu Salih that Ibn Abbas said, ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) the meaning of amin. He answered, “Lord, do it!” Muqatil said, ‘It strengthens the supplication and asks for the descent of blessings.’ At-Tirmidhi said, ‘It means: “Do not disappoint our hopes.'”
There are two ways of pronouncing amin: with both vowels long like Yasin, and with the first vowel short like yamin. Doubling the mim is an error, according to al-Jawahari. The doubling is related from al-Hasan and Ja’far as-Sadiq. It is the position of al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl, who derived it from amma meaning to aim for something, which gives it the meaning, ‘we aim for you.’
This occurs in Allah’s words: ‘or those heading (ammin) for the Sacred House…’ (5:2). Abu Nasr ‘Abd ar-Rahim ibn ‘Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri related it. Al-Jawhari said, ‘It is based on the fathah as is “ayna” and “kayfa” because of joining of two silent letters.’
Scholars disagree about whether the imam says it at all and if he does, whether he says it out loud. Ash-Shai’i and Malik believe in the transmission of the Madinans regarding that whereas the Kufans and some Madinans say that it should not be said out loud. That is the view of at-Tabari. Among our scholars, Ibn Habib said that. Ibn Bukayr said that there is a choice. Ibn al-Qasim related from Malik that the Imam does not say amin but those behind him do.
That is the position of Ibn al-Qasim and the Egyptians among Malik’s followers. Their evidence is the hadith of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari: ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) addressed us, made our sunnah clear to us, and taught us our prayer. He said, “When you pray, then make your rows straight. Then let one of you lead the prayer. When he says Takbir, say Takbir. When he says, ‘not of those with anger on them nor of the misguided,’ say amin and Allah will answer you.”” Muslim transmitted it.
It is like the hadith of Sumayy from Abu Hurayrah that Malik transmitted. The first is sound because of the hadith of Wa’il ibn Hujr who said, ‘When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) recited, “nor of the misguided,” he said, “Amin,” raising his voice.’ Abu Dawud and ad-Daraqutni transmitted it. He added that Abu Bakr said that only the people of Kufa have this sunnah. This is sound. Al-Baukhari has a chapter on ‘The imam saying amin out loud.’
‘Ata said that amin is a supplication. Ibn az-Zubayr and those behind him said it until the mosque reverberated. At-Tirmidhi said, ‘That is the position of more than one of the people of knowledge among the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and those after them. They related that a man should raise his voice with amin and not say it silently,’ Ash-Shafi’i, Amad, and Ishaq said that. In Muwatta’ and the two sahih Collections Ibn Shihab said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to say, ‘Amin.’ We find in the Sunan of Ibn Majah that Abu Hurayrah said, ‘People have abandoned amin.
When the messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “not of those with anger on them nor of the misguided,” he would say, “Amin” so that the people of the first row heard it and the mosque would reverberate with it.’ The point in the hadith of Abu Musa and Sumayy is defining the place where amin is said. It is when the imam says, ‘nor of the misguided’ so that they say it together and do not get ahead of it by saying ‘Amim’ as we mentioned. Allah knows best.
The Prophet (PBUH) also said, ‘When the imam says, “Amin, then say “Amin”.’ Ibn Nafi said in the book of Ibn al-Harith: ‘ The one following the imam does not say it unless he hears the imam say, “nor of the misguided.” When he is so far away that he does not hear it, he does not say it.’ Ibn Abdus said, ‘He estimates the amount of the recitation and then says, “Amin”.’
The people of Abu Hanifah said that it is more appropriate to say amin silently rather than out loud because it is supplication and Allah Almighty says, ‘Call on your Lord humbly and secretly.’ (7:55) They said, ‘ The evidence for it is what is related about the interpretation of the words of the Almighty: “Your request is answered.” (19:89)’ They said, ‘Musa and Harun used to make supplication using amin, and so Allah called them both supplicator.’
The answer is that making supplication silently is better in order to avoid any showing-off. As for the group prayer, attending it is in order to publicize an outward obligation and to promote a duty which people recommended to observe. The imam has to articulate the recitation of the Fatihah, which contains supplication and amin at the end of it. When supplication is of the sort which it is sunna to say aloud, then amin follows at the end of the supplication and is also sunnah. This is clear.
The word Amin was not found before us except with Musa and Harun. At-Tirmidhi al-Hakim related in Nawadir al-usul from ‘Abd al-Warith ibn ‘Abd as-Samad from Razin, the mu’adhdin of the mosque of Hisham ibn Hassan, from Anas ibn Malik, that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘Allah has given three things to my community that he did not give to anyone before them: the greeting of the people, the rows of the angels, and Amin, except for what was said by Musa and Harun.’
Abu Abdullah said, ‘It means that Musa prayed against Pharoah and Harun said, “Amin.”‘ Allah – blessed is His name – said when He mentioned the supplication of Musa in the Revelation: ‘Your request is answered.’ (10:89) He did not mention what Harun said. Musa said, ‘Our Lord’ and Harun said, ‘Amin.’ So he is called a supplicator in the Revelation because that amounted to a supplication on his part.
It is said that ‘Amin” is particular to this community since it is related that the Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The Jews do not envy you for anything as they envy you for the salam and saying amin.’ Ibn Majah transmitted it from Hammad ibn Salamah from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father from A’ishah that the Prophet (PBUH) said…’ It is also transmitted from the hadith of ibn Abbas that the Prophet (PBUH) said, The Jews do not envy you for anything as much as they envy you for the amin.
So say “Amin” often.’ Our scholars say that the people of the Book envy us because the beginning of the Fatihah is praise of Allah, lauding Him, then humility and humbleness to Him, and then praying to guide us to the straight Path and then invocation against them with saying ‘Amin.’